What started as a march for justice for Linda Beardy on Friday evening ended in a protest against the Winnipeg Police Service.
At 5 p.m. a rally began at the intersection of Portage and Main. Hundreds chanted, hugged family members, and sang songs in memory of the 33-year-old mother, whose body was found at the Brady Road landfill on Monday.
“If you could look at the track record, I bargain. I bargained with humanity ‘do not touch my family’ but here we are,” said Linda’s cousin, Ryan Beardy.
On Thursday, police announced her death wasn’t being considered a homicide after finding video surveillance of Beardy climbing into a commercial garbage bin hours before its contents were taken to the landfill.
“So an autopsy was conducted on April 4th, and it confirmed the injuries the body sustained were consistent with that of the truck handling the bin,” said Police Chief Danny Smyth.
“You’ve all seen how the trucks empty the bins. There were no other injuries that suggest foul play.”
In response, Beardy’s family issued a statement calling for an independent investigation. They say they felt intimidated by officers and that they weren’t treated respectfully.
One of the organizers of the march, Gerry Shingoose, said the police did not let the family know they were going forward with a press conference about Beardy’s death.
“They could have waited, it was too fast and you know, just really sloppy … investigation.” she said.
“Winnipeg Police Service failed Linda Beardy’s family and they are going to continue to fail our missing and murdered Indigenous women.
“Our women are sacred and we’re not trash and we should be treated with the utmost respect and that’s my message to the public.”
The original plan of the march was to arrive at city hall but plans changed and protesters headed to the police headquarters.
They called for the landfill to be shut down and demanded justice for Beardy. During the protest, things took a turn and property ended up damaged.
“Approximately 150 people gathered at WPS headquarters. During the event, a large window pane located near the Graham Avenue entrance was damaged,” WPS said in a statement to Global News.
“Initial damage estimates are unavailable, and the Major Crimes Unit is investigating that incident.”
— with files from Global’s Rosanna Hempel
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