Hearing will determine participants for inquest into shooting death of Long Plain First Nation man

A standing hearing has been scheduled to determine who can participate in upcoming inquest into the death of Long Plain First Nation man who was shot by police in the community last year. 

Ben Richard was shot on April 2, 2019, after officers responded to a report that he was firing a gun in his residence. 

When officers with Manitoba First Nations Police arrived, Richard is alleged to have shot at them, and they returned fire, according to a news release issued Wednesday by the chief medical examiner’s office.

Richard died at the scene.

The chief medical examiner’s office called an inquest into Richard’s death last November. Under provincial law, the chief medical examiner must investigate if a person dies as a result of use of force by a police officer, or if a person dies while in custody. 

Before the inquest can begin, a judge must decide who can participate in the process and question witnesses. 

Individuals and groups can apply to be granted standing and participate in the inquest. 

Those who are interested in taking part can contact Melissa Carlson, inquest counsel, at 204-918-0925 or Melissa.Carlson@gov.mb.ca by Dec. 10.

The hearing to decide who can participate in the Richard inquest will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 15, at 10 a.m. at the Portage la Prairie court office, 20 Third St. SE in Portage la Prairie.

In May, the Independent Investigation Unit cleared a pair of Manitoba First Nations Police Service officers of wrongdoing in Richard’s death. 

In his report, civilian director of the IIU Zane Tessler concluded that the use of lethal force by the two MFNP officers was “justified, unavoidable and necessary” to prevent any further death or injury to the public.