Edmonton police chief launches outside investigation into 2017 death following fatality inquiry

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“Only as a result of the family asking questions, was a detective assigned six days later, who was at a decided disadvantage due to the time lapse,” wrote Cochard. “Further, the detective retired and nothing further has been done to find the individual who was last with Ms. Auger, a critical witness.”

Edmonton police Chief Dale McFee has asked Edmonton lawyer Richard Mirasty to conduct a third-party examination into the police investigation.

“The EPS is committed to working with Mr. Mirasty to ensure he has all the information he requires to conduct a fulsome review of the organization’s response to this fatality,” said EPS spokeswoman Cheryl Sheppard following the release of the report.

The Edmonton Police Commission issued a statement Wednesday, saying it fully supports the third-party investigation.

“Rhonda Auger has been remembered by her family as an outgoing and kind person who loved children, especially her grandchildren. Her untimely death was truly a tragedy,” said police commission chairwoman Micki Ruth.

Priscilla Auger, Rhonda Auger’s sister, said she’s hopeful the external review will make police realize every life and every investigation matters.

“They didn’t take it seriously from the moment they went to the call and found her on the street,” said Auger. “We want some answers.”

She said her family gave a number of tips regarding Rhonda Auger’s death and shared contact information. She said she gave phone numbers of family members to officers involved and heard they were never contacted.

Priscilla Auger hopes her sister’s case can show other Indigenous families the importance of knowing their rights when dealing with police and continuing to pressure officers.

“They don’t know that they do this sort of stuff. Keep on them, push them, ask them questions and you know, make them do their job,” said Auger.

She said an officer who has been assigned to continue the investigation into her sister’s death contacted her earlier this week.

There is no timeline for Mirasty’s review.

dshort@postmedia.com

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