In December 2018, after a two-year investigation into Thunder Bay’s police force, Ontario’s independent police watchdog, the OIPRD, revealed evidence of widespread racism that informed shoddy investigations into the deaths and disappearances of Indigenous people in the city.
Gerry McNeilly, Ontario’s Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), called for the re-opening of at least nine sudden-deaths in Thunder Bay. Noting that Thunder Bay has “one of the highest rates of hate crimes in Canada,” McNeilly found “significant deficiencies in sudden-death investigations involving Indigenous people that are due, in part, to racial stereotyping.”Gerry McNeilly
The OIPRD review entitled Broken Trust: Indigenous People and the Thunder Bay Police Service, made 44 recommendations. Broken Trustnoted that since the early 1990s, Indigenous communities in and around Thunder Bay identified more than 30 suspicious deathsof Indigenous people which the Thunder Bay police refused to seriously investigate.
The review noted that in the case of the sudden deaths, the Thunder Bay Police Service investigators failed “to treat or protect the deceased and his or her family equally and without discrimination because the deceased was Indigenous.”
To get a true feeling for what’s gone on and continues to go on with the Thunder Bay Police Service, see the report here: http://oiprd.on.ca/wp-content/uploads/OIPRD-BrokenTrust-Final-Accessible-E.pdf