Indigenous leaders urge investigation into restraint incident at Winnipeg’s Marlborough Hotel

Indigenous leaders in Manitoba are urging a further investigation into the restraint of a woman at Winnipeg’s Marlborough Hotel.

A video showing a First Nations woman in distress with her hands restrained behind her back in the lobby of the hotel on Christmas Day has leaders calling for change.

Police say the staff at the hotel had restrained the woman after she attempted to stab a staff member with a knife.

But Grand Chief Jerry Daniels of the Southern Chiefs Organization says many questions remain about how the situation escalated.

“There are ways to deal with our people in a respectful and empathetic manner. I think that’s always the first course of action, is to understand a situation, where the person is coming from, and then proceed from there,” Daniels said.

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Indigenous outcry over hotel restraint incident sparks calls for change in Winnipeg

The hotel manager previously told Global News they had been advised by police to protect their guests and staff and police have called the use of restraints in this case justified.

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“Our only intention was to prevent this young woman from harming herself or others until WPS arrived,” manager Rakib Hoque said in a statement on Saturday.

Winnipeg police say they arrived shortly thereafter and took the woman into custody. Police say she was charged with assault with a weapon.

Police confirmed Monday that they did not specifically direct hotel staff to restrain the woman.

Daniels is calling for a thorough investigation into the incident and for co-ordinated, culturally appropriate responses to incidents like this, involving police, security and Indigenous groups.

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Grand Chief Cathy Merrick of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs says they’ll also be advocating for training for more Indigenous people in security.

“We’re able to train them, and I don’t think that’s something that’s been looked at within our structures. So that’s something we would like to do,” she said.

On the weekend, Merrick said the AMC had terminated its business relationship with the hotel as the woman was in Winnipeg for a medical appointment. Merrick says she also wants AMC to be involved in discussions with the First Nation and Inuit Health Branch about which hotels patients are placed at.

Merrick says other concerns have been raised to First Nations leadership regarding safety at the hotel, which she says they’ll be discussing with police.

Meanwhile, police said on Monday they are committed to sharing “factual and accurate information” as their investigation progresses.

with files from Global’s Katherine Dornian

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