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Shamattawa RCMP officers repeatedly injured

Since April 2022 a series of concerning violence against police has occurred in this remote norther community.
Located in northern Manitoba, Shamattawa First Nation is a remote community that is home to 1,425 on reserve and is only accessible by air or winter road.

In the last 10 months, RCMP officers in the community of Shamattawa have been repeatedly assaulted and the detachment targeted for arson.

On February 1, 2023, the latest in a number of incidents occurred. At approximately 11:30 pm, Shamattawa RCMP responded to a call of a disturbance at an apartment building on Hudson Street. A party was taking place and Elders were being kicked out of their own residences. As police began to disperse the partygoers, a female youth physically attacked one of the RCMP officers. The officer placed the female under arrest and as the officer was doing so, a group of about 20 people, adults and youth, physically pushed officers away.

After calming the scene, officers left, only to have to return a short while later to discover the party had started up again. Officers were again attacked, and the police vehicle was smashed with a 2x4, causing a window to shatter. As arrests were being made, officers were punched, kicked, and bitten. Heavy items were also thrown at officers, causing significant injury to one officer, who was hit in the face.

On Dec. 15, 2022, at approximately 8:00 p.m., Shamattawa RCMP responded to a call of a disturbance in the community. Upon arriving at the scene, officers were surrounded by a group of more than 20 people, both adults and youth. The officers were attacked by the group and suffered injuries ranging from bruised faces to chipped teeth to injured hips and knees.

Officers managed to gain control and seven individuals were arrested. None of the suspects involved in this incident sustained any physical injuries.

On April 3, 2022, at approximately 11:00 pm, Shamattawa RCMP received a report of a structure fire on Fox Road in the community. Officers attended immediately to find the residence was engulfed in flames. There was no indication anyone was inside the residence. Officers worked to keep people at a distance from the residence as there was also a downed power line on the road. The local fire truck was non-operational, so firefighters were not on scene.

A group of youths between the ages of 11-14 years of age attempted to walk toward the residence. The group received a warning from officers to keep their distance. When the warning was disregarded, several of the youths were arrested in the interest of safety. While the arrests were occurring, a group of people surrounded an officer and began to kick and punch the officer. The officer suffered injuries from the attack.

Officers were able to disperse the group and take those in custody back to the detachment, at which time, three youth attended the outside of the detachment and doused the front steps with flammable fluid in an attempt to light the detachment on fire. Those three youths, 11, 13, and 13, were all arrested and the fire was quickly doused.

It is believed intoxicants played a role in all the incidents.

Charges were laid in all these incidents, and youth agencies were contacted to assist with the number of youths 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 Inspector Kyle Watson, of Manitoba North District RCMP. “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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