(Toronto, July 3, 2018) Last Wednesday morning, jurors in a Hamilton court house found the killer of Jon Styres, a 29 year-old Indigenous man from Six Nations, not guilty of second degree murder. Mr. Styres had been shot to death while attempting to steal a truck from the driveway of the killer’s home. He became another victim of senseless violence.
“This sort of extreme violence – shooting an unarmed man – is not acceptable in Canada. No one should place the value of a possession over the sacred life of a human being,” said Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald. “At our Annual All Ontario Chiefs Conference last Wednesday, over 100 Chiefs stood in solidarity behind Six Nations Chief Ava Hill in calling for immediate action.
“Had a police call to 911 been placed as first measure, the death of a young 29 year old father may have been prevented. The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte support Chief Ava Hill and her Council’s demand that the Crown Attorney seek an appeal of the not guilty verdict so that justice can be seen to be done,” stated Chief R. Donald Maracle.
“We cannot afford to lose another generation to a racial divide that seems to put our Peoples at a disadvantage on the day they are born. Mr. Styres’ daughters have lost a father,” said Regional Chief Archibald.” We want them to grow up knowing that there is justice, equality, and love in this country. I urge all Canadians to walk with us on the road of Reconciliation.”
“This hits far too close to home for all Indigenous peoples following virtually the same verdict for a Saskatchewan farmer who shot Colten Boushie to death and was found not guilty by an all-white jury,” added the Regional Chief. “Whether it’s in the courtroom or coffee shop, our Peoples face prejudice and racism every single day. Our confidence in the justice system continues to be shaken. There is no measure of consolation for those families whose lives have been shattered.
To quote Lindsay Hill, the mother of Mr. Styres’ daughters, who spoke at a Queen’s Park rally on Canada Day: “They are not just names in a headline or victims in a criminal case. They are people who were loved and are now greatly missed. Their lives mattered. They are people who deserve justice.”
“Here in Ontario, retired Justice Frank Iacobucci produced a 2013 report, First Nation Representation on Ontario Juries,” said Chief Ava Hill. “At the time, the Chiefs of Ontario recommended that participation of First Nations peoples in the court system must be accompanied by the broader objective of eradicating systemic discrimination in the justice system. Attorney General Caroline Mulroney must read this report and work with us to correct these injustices. This work begins with an appeal of the Styres’ verdict by the Attorney General.”
Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald
The Chiefs of Ontario is a political forum and a secretariat for collective decision making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nation communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario, Canada. Follow Chiefs of Ontario on Facebook or Twitter @ChiefsOfOntario.
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