“Imagine what those three gunshots sounded like,” Laura Holland told Campbell River RCMP members on Tuesday afternoon.
“I’ll never see him again,” she continued. “I’ll never see my son’s face again.”
“The next time, we’re going to be so loud that Canada will never kill another Indigenous person… we’re not going to back down.”
Holland’s voice was nearly drowned out by drums just outside the detachment doors. On the front lawn of the building, over 100 people gathered to mourn Jared Lowndes and protest the manner of his death.
Holland, Lowndes’ mother, led a procession of vehicles that wound through downtown Campbell River to the RCMP detachment, the Tim Hortons where the shooting occurred, and finally, to Homalco village for a private traditional ceremony.
Residents of Campbell River have largely been polarized after the shooting of Lowndes. Some people have said the police were justified in their actions due to the man’s history. Before the procession, Lydia Hwitsum of the First Nations Summit said the idea behind the event was to try and bridge that divide and work together towards a solution.
“It all starts with human rights,” she said. “We’re all human beings on this planet, and whatever divide has been perpetuated, we have to see beyond that and see that we’re all human beings with a heart. There’s been loss, there’s hurt, there’s pain, there’s injustice. Those are drivers for us to work together on solutions.”
Lowndes’ family echoed Hwitsum’s sentiment, saying that reform is needed for the RCMP. They are asking for the disarmament of the police, as well as mandatory body cameras for members.
An urn holding Lowndes’ remains was carried through the city by his brother Sean Holland. The procession left downtown at around 11 a.m. and went towards the RCMP station. There, Laura Holland confronted RCMP members present. She also spoke to the memorial set out for RCMP Service Dog Gator.
“We came here to bring flowers for a dead service dog,” Holland said. “We didn’t come to deface or to shred anything. We have more respect than that, and my son has more honour than that. And he wouldn’t want us to do anything more than that.”
Homalco Chief Darren Blaney was horrified at the response people have had in Campbell River since the incident.
“I’m disappointed in Campbell River because too many people are comfortable with racism,” Blaney said.
The incident is still under investigation with the Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia. Campbell River RCMP said they would not be commenting further on the case.
From there, the procession travelled to the Willow Point Tim Hortons, where the deadly incident all took place.
Family members and friends spoke about Lowndes and laid gifts at a growing memorial in his honour. This was followed by a private event at Homalco, but not before one last song was sung for Lowndes by members with drums that echoed music over the ocean.
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