Family, family advocates, police among parties to speak at inquiry over Eishia Hudson’s death

Four parties have been given permission to participate in an inquest into the death of 16-year-old Eishia Hudson, who was shot by a Winnipeg police officer two years ago.

Provincial court Chief Judge Margaret Wiebe is allowing Hudson’s family, the Winnipeg police, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs’ Family Advocates Office and the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth to participate, the AMC said in a news release on Tuesday.

“I am hopeful that this inquest will be an opportunity for the family to receive justice and closure as they share their experience of this tragedy,” Acting Grand Chief Cornell McLean said in the release.

On April 8, 2020, Eishia Hudson was shot and killed by a Winnipeg police officer, following a pursuit, in which police say she drove a vehicle involved in a liquor store robbery in Winnipeg’s Sage Creek neighbourhood.

She was one of three Indigenous people who were killed by police in the city in the span of 10 days in the spring of 2020. 

Nakita Hudson and father William Hudson are pictured in a 2021 file photo. Eishia Hudson’s family are among the parties permitted to be involved in the inquest into her death. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

The following January, Manitoba’s police watchdog found the police officer responsible for Hudson’s death was not criminally liable.

“Eishia’s life was taken in a short period of time from the people who are to serve and protect her. By bringing the voices of First Nations youth into the inquest process, we are able to share their truths, from their perspective and from their understandings,” said First Nations family advocate Cora Morgan.

The inquest will examine the circumstances surrounding Hudson’s death, the cause of which was a gunshot wound to the torso, the autopsy found.

An inquest can be called if the chief medical examiner has reason to believe the person died as a result of use of force by a peace officer acting in the course of duty, according to the Fatalities Inquiries Act.

An inquest can also be called if, at the time of death, a person was in custody of peace officer.

A judge in an inquest submits a report and can recommend “changes in the programs, policies and practices of government” that may help prevent similar deaths from happening in the future, according to the provincial court. However, the inquest process cannot determine culpability with respect to a death, the province says.

A date for the inquest hasn’t been made public at this time.

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