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Repeated assaults on Shamattawa officers causing injuries and ‘dangerous situations,’ RCMP says

A Feb. 14 press release highlighted three incidents, two in the last two months, in which police responding to calls in the remote Northern Manitoba First Nation were punched, kicked or pushed by groups of adults and youths.
The RCMP says its officers in the remote Northern Manitoba community of Shamattawa have been attacked and injured by groups of people three times in the past 10 months.

The Manitoba RCMP says repeated incidents of its officers in Shamattawa being attacked and injured over the past year,  including the most recent one two weeks ago, are creating dangerous situations.

The most recent incident on Feb. 1 occurred as officers were responding to a disturbance call at a Hudson Street apartment complex, where a party was taking place and elders were being kicked out of their own homes. While police were dispersing the people at the party, a female youth physically attacked one of the officers. When the officer placed the youth under arrest, a crowd of about 20 adults and youth were pushing other officers away.

After officers calmed tensions and left the scene, the party started again and RCMP returned a short time later. A police vehicle was struck with a 2x4, shattering a window, and officers were punched, kicked and bitten as they were making arrests. Heavy objects were also thrown, one of which caused a significant injury to one officer when it hit them in the face.

Less than two months previously, on Dec. 15, officers responding to a report of a disturbance in the community were surrounded by a group of 20 adults and youth who attacked them, causing injuries such as bruised faces, chipped teeth and injured hips and knees. Officers gained control of the situation and arrested seven people. Police say none of those suspects sustained any physical injuries in the course of their arrests.

A third incident highlighted by RCMP in their Feb. 14 press release took place nearly 10 months ago, on April 3, 2022, when police responding to a fire found a residence engulfed in flames. With no indications that anyone was inside the residence, officers tried to keep people at a distance because there was also a downed power line on the road. Firefighters were not at the scene because their fire truck was not working.

When a group of youths aged 11 to 14 attempted to walk towards the residence, they were warned not to do so by officers but they disregarded the warning and police arrested several of the youths for their safety. As the arrests were being made, a group of people surrounded an officer, kicking and punching them, which resulted in the officer being injured.

When police dispersed the crowd and took the youth in custody back to the detachment, three youth came to the outside of the building, doused the front steps with flammable liquid and lit it on fire. Those three youths, two aged 13 and one aged 11, were arrested and the fire quickly extinguished.

Police believe intoxicants were a factor in each of these incidents, all of which resulted in charges being laid and youth agencies contacted to help deal with the large number of youth involved.

“If our officers are being attacked and seriously injured when they respond to a call, it creates dangerous situations all around, and it will not be tolerated,” said Manitoba RCMP North District Insp. Kyle Watson. “We will continue to work together with the community and available resources to address these concerning incidents and find a positive path forward where everyone feels safe.”

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