RCMP launches investigation into death of Indigenous man killed in police custody

RCMP launches investigation into death of Indigenous man killed in police custody

A video allegedly showed an RCMP officer sexually harassing an Indigenous teen. Then it went missing. Inside allegations of misconduct and cover-up in Canada’s national police force.

The RCMP and the province of British Columbia have launched a major investigation into the death of a young Indigenous man who was killed in a police custody.

Nathan Thomas, an 18-year-old Indigenous man from British Columbia, was shot and killed while in police custody on May 25. He died days later at the hospital.

The RCMP said it opened an investigation with the provincial attorney general’s office after receiving a complaint and reviewed the officer’s cellphone.

The RCMP said the cellphone was turned off and the hard drive of the cellphone was erased. The officer has not been charged and the investigation focuses on determining whether the officer mishandled a situation involving a young Indigenous man.

The officer involved is still working with the RCMP.

The Star attempted to contact the officer through the RCMP’s media operations, but they refused.

The officer, who was not named on the media release, was involved in one of the first Indigenous-police exchanges. In August 2015, then-Det. Supt. Andy Smith asked officers, including Thomas, if they knew of any Indigenous groups, at the time most likely affiliated with the Hells Angels, who were using the Crown land for their own drug operations.

In response, Thomas said he knew of a group, the “Squaw Man,” who was using the property.

Smith, who was with the RCMP at the time, told the Star the Mounties were aware of the Squaw Man and could find no evidence of drug use or criminal activity on the property.

The RCMP investigation found that Thomas was killed after an altercation with other inmates at the Vancouver North Detention Centre.

The RCMP said the video from the incident was missing.

“We have been unable to locate the video from the initial altercation in question and are seeking any information that can help identify the individual depicted in the video and, if possible, locate his/her mobile phone,” the RCMP reported.


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