MIRAMICHI, N.B. —
The coroner’s inquest into the death of a man from New Brunswick’s Metepenagiag First Nation began in Miramichi on Tuesday.
Rodney Levi was shot and killed by RCMP on the evening of June 12, 2020, after what police say was a disturbance in a home in Sunny Corner, N.B.
RCMP says officers responded to a complaint about an “unwanted man” in a home near the community at 7: 40 p.m.
In an interview with CTV News, Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said when police arrived, they were confronted by a man who was carrying knives.
The 48-year-old was the second Indigenous person to be killed by police in New Brunswick that month.
The shooting was investigated by Quebec’s police watchdog, Bureau des Enquetes Independant, who submitted their report to New Brunswick prosecutors in December 2020.
A statement from the prosecutions service said it is clear the officers on the scene believed Levi was using force against them, and he was shot to protect themselves and civilians who were present.
The officer involved was found not criminally responsible for Levi’s death.
Levi’s killing came eight days after an Edmundston, N.B., police officer shot and killed Chantel Moore, a 26-year-old Indigenous woman, during a wellness check.
The two killings sparked dismay and anger in the province’s Indigenous community along with demands for a full inquiry.
On Tuesday, in a conference room at the Rodd Miramichi River Hotel, coroner John Evans presided over the jury selection for that inquiry.
Initially, 200 people were summoned for the inquest, but only five will make up the jury.
Kenneth Francis, an elder from the Elsipogtog First Nation, is working as an independent consultant during the hearing to assist with the jury selection. Evans says given the nature of the hearing, his goal is to help highlight indigenous representation and knowledge.
Members of Levi’s family were also in the makeshift courtroom today, along with the family’s lawyer, Alisa Lombard.
Evans says he hopes to have all five jury members selected by the end of the day.
Eight days have been set aside for the hearing, with witness testimonies expected to begin on Wednesday.