Edmundston, a police officer, says in a statement of defense that Chantel Moore caused her own death
The city of Edmundston and the police officer who shot Chantel Moore say in a court filing that their actions, not negligence, caused her death.
Moore, 26, was shot and killed by Edmundston Police Force Const. Jeremy Son on June 4, 2020 when he was sent to her apartment to check on her wellbeing. Moore approached Son on the apartment’s balcony with a knife and fired four shots, which he says were in self-defense.
Moore’s estate and her mother, Martha Martin, filed the lawsuit last year, alleging the city failed to adequately train its officials to safely respond to wellness checks, particularly those involving an Indigenous person .
The lawsuit also alleged that Son neglected his duties and “demonstrated significant errors of judgment and analysis throughout the health check that resulted in the death of the late Chantel Moore.”
The claims of the lawsuit were not proven in court.
The city and Son filed a defense statement on Jan. 18.
The defendants allege that Chantel Moore’s death was caused by her own actions and her negligence in approaching a police officer who brandished a knife at him as if to stab or cut him, and by not following the officer’s instructions defendant son heard away from the knife,” says the file, which was written in French.
The death of Moore and the police shooting of Rodney Levi just days later in eastern New Brunswick sparked calls for justice from First Nations communities in New Brunswick and across Canada. They also led to calls for an investigation into systemic racism in the New Brunswick justice system.
Attorney TJ Burke announced the lawsuit as a coroner’s inquest into Moore’s death began last year. The inquest jury ruled that her manner of death was manslaughter.
The verdict did not affect whether the officer would be charged. The New Brunswick district attorney’s office determined in 2021 that there was no reasonable prospect of a conviction based on the evidence.
Son testified at the inquest that he climbed the outside stairs to the third floor balcony in front of Moore’s apartment, looked in a window and saw her sleeping on a sofa. He knocked several times to wake her up.
When she got up, he said he threw a light on his uniform to show he was an officer.
He testified that within seconds she grabbed something metallic from a kitchen counter, opened the door, and approached him with a knife.
He testified that he tried to reverse on the balcony but reached a railing and was unable to reverse further. He fired four shots.
“I didn’t know how it got to this point,” Son testified. “There was no reason why this should have happened. I couldn’t understand how it changed so drastically. It was so quick. There was no more response time.”
Son did not have the department’s only operational taser that night, and police were not using body cameras at the time. Another officer with Son had been waiting in a parked vehicle that evening.
The most recent defense brief sets out the same account.
“Fearing for his life, defendant Son fired his firearm in the direction of Chantel Moore four times until the threat was removed,” the filing reads.
“Defendants allege that the defendant son acted reasonably under the circumstances and acted in self-defense at all times.”
motion to dismiss the case
The filing denies allegations that the police department had inadequate policies, training and equipment.
The filing prompts the court to dismiss the case. It is unclear when this application can be considered by the court.
Burke did not respond to messages requesting comment.
The city declined to comment, citing the court case.