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March against police brutality today

A LOCAL rally and march set for today, International Day Against Police Brutality, is expected to welcome some prominent visitors to take part.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of The Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and Josh Paterson, executive director for the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), are set to join rally organizer Heather Prisk-Wright, wife of Robert Wright, a local First Nations man who has been permanently and seriously disabled by injuries received while in police custody last year, said a release from the BCCLA today.

While New Westminster police recommended charges be laid against the officer involved, the provincial Crown declined to prosecute the officer, the release continued.

The BC Civil Liberties Association released a report in 2011 documenting allegations of police racism, excessive use of force, abuse of authority, and reckless and negligent police searches in Terrace, the surrounding area and other communities in the province.

"Policing in this province has to change. Whether it's the assaults and discrimination that have been experienced by First Nations and other people at the hands of police, or the tragedy of police inaction on murdered and missing women along the highway of tears, we cannot accept this ongoing violence against our people," said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. "So many of our communities have lost confidence in the ability of law enforcement to protect them. The relationship needs rebuilding from the ground up."

"Report after report has drawn attention to the problem of police violence, lack of accountability, and deaths in police custody in BC," said Paterson. "While many officers are out there trying to do a good job, we see far too many examples of unacceptable police violence against First Nations and non-First Nations people resulting in injury and death and that needs to stop."

The march for the International Day Against Police Brutality begins at noon at the Terrace RCMP detachment on Eby St. and marches to the courthouse on Kalum St.

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