Justice for Jared Lowndes
Justice for Jared Lowndes
Since 1995, community activists in the US have designated October 22 as a day of action against police brutality, mobilizing against police violence in all its forms and raising calls for abolition. This year, actions will again be carried out in cities across the US. An action will also be held in Vancouver, in the context of the Canadian state. So far this year at least 84 people have been killed by police or died through interactions with police in Canada. Indigenous people are disproportionately victims of police violence, including killings by police.
Justice for Jared Lowndes in Vancouver
On Friday, October 22, family, friends, and allies in so-called Vancouver are hosting #FTP Feed the People, an event calling for “an end to police brutality, repression and the criminalization of a generation.” The event is organized by Justice for Jared, family members and loved ones who are mobilizing in response to the killing on July 8 of Jared Lowndes, a Wet’suwet’en man of the Laksilyu Clan. They have put forward a number of demands, including disarming the police.
The organizing callout describes the event, which will take place from 1-4 PM, as follows:
“On Friday, there will be food, speakers & gifts for the community. Think of it like a kitchen table conversation - where we come together and envision a world free of police violence. We know that in so-called Canada, Indigenous people continued to be criminalized and targeted simply for existing. We know they the police who murder them are never held accountable, and watchdogs like the Independent Investigations Office will never end police violence.”
The RCMP Killing of Jared Lowndes
Jared Lowndes was shot and killed by the RCMP in the parking lot of a Tim Horton’s in Campbell River, BC, the town in which he had lived for the last six years. During the RCMP attack, he was also assaulted by a police dog.
Family and friends question why police deployed a police dog and fired a deadly weapon so quickly in a warrant stop. Lee Hackett, a friend of Jared Lowndes, told reporters, “They should have approached him with caution, they shouldn’t have tried to box him in and surround him, and they definitely shouldn’t have sent the dog after him like that.”
Ketisha Hackett, mother of Jared Lowndes’ children, expressed the awful sadness of her children being without their father, saying, “They are going to have a life-long emptiness in them because they lost their father.” She told reporters, “There was no need to shoot someone like Jared in the head like that.”
Ashleaha Gardiner, another friend of Jared Lowndes, expressed similar concerns: “Jared was stuck in that car already, they had no reason to bring that dog out at all. Jared didn’t have to get shot in the face three times either.”
Meanwhile Canadian media produced numerous stories about the police dog that was killed during the action. Memorials to the dog have been put up in the town and there have been various tributes. At the same time, there have been few stories on the actual victim, Jared Lowndes, and the town has created no memorials, leaving that as a further burden for grieving loved ones to carry out.
October 22 Anti-Police Brutality Day
The October 22 Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation initiated the National Anti-Police Brutality Day in 1995, with the first actions happening in 1996. The October 22 Coalition has also undertaken The Stolen Lives Project, which documents police killings of civilians across the US from 1990 to the present.
The October 22 Coalition arose from discussions among a variety of groups and individuals, including Pam Africa (International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal and MOVE), Akil Al-Jundi (Community Self Defense Program), Angel Cervantes (Four Winds Student Movement), Omowale Clay (December 12th Movement, Carl Dix (Revolutionary Communist Party), and Keith McHenry (Food Not Bombs). They issued the draft call for a National Day of Protest in May at Resist '96.
Globally, March 15 is recognized as the International Day Against Police Brutality. It has its origins in 1997 through the work of the Montreal-based Collective Opposed to Police Brutality and the Black Flag group in Switzerland.