A mother of a 16-year-old Inuk teenager who was reported missing on Monday says Gatineau police were callous and brushed aside concerns that her missing daughter was in more danger because she’s Indigenous.
The woman, who lives in Gatineau, can’t be named because her daughter is in foster care.
The foster family reported the teen missing to police Monday night around 10 p.m., after last seeing her early Monday morning.
Not able to speak French, the teen’s mother asked a friend, Dawn Moore, to accompany her to the police station on boulevard de la Carrière on Tuesday around noon to see if police had discovered any information about her daughter’s whereabouts.
Moore, a university professor at Carleton University, has filed a complaint over the incident, alleging that a Gatineau police officer assaulted her after she questioned him about what was being done to find her friend’s daughter.
Police brushed aside concerns about missing teen mother alleges
Both women said two police officers dismissed their concerns about the missing teen, even after telling them as an Indigenous young woman, statistics show she was at a greater risk of being harmed.
“They refused to give us any information,” said the mother of the missing teen.
The woman, who is an activist for murdered and missing Indigenous women, said she knows personally the harm her daughter could face, after her cousin, an Inuk living in the Maritimes, was murdered in 2014.
Moore said the first officer they spoke to was indifferent, at times hostile and remarked that teenagers run away all the time and unless they had additional information that could assist police, there was nothing more he could do.
‘I was rageful and I couldn’t believe that this was the way a woman whose child is missing is being treated,’
– Dawn Moore, Professor at Carleton University
While standing in a doorway talking to the officer, Moore said she rested her hand on the door and when he asked her to remove it, she did — but she alleges he responded by grabbing her wrist.
“I was rageful and I couldn’t believe that this was the way a woman whose child is missing is being treated, let alone an Indigenous woman and in the middle of the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women,” said Moore.
On the alleged grabbing of Moore, the mother said she and several by-standers in the police station yelled at the officer to take his hands off her.