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N.B. police lay charges in hit and run death of young Aboriginal man – CP

by ahnationtalk on June 20, 201824 Views

Source: The Canadian Press
Jun 20, 2018

SAINT-CHARLES, N.B. _ There was relief on a New Brunswick First Nation Wednesday, after police laid charges in a hit-and-run death that left residents grieving and seeking justice.

“We’re extremely happy,” said Ruth Levi, a band councillor and director of social services at the Elsipogtog reserve.

Brady Francis, a well-liked 22-year-old from Elsipogtog, was struck and killed by a pickup truck after leaving a party on Feb. 24.

RCMP charged Maurice Johnson, a 56-year-old man from Saint-Charles, N.B., with failing to stop at the scene of an accident involving bodily harm or death.

They said it’s believed Francis was waiting for a drive home when he was struck.

Johnson is to appear in Moncton provincial court July 10.

“The investigation is over. It was long but it shows that Brady’s case was not put on the back burner which a lot of people though was happening,” Levi said Wednesday.

Many Elsipogtog residents had called for criminal charges in the case, and alluded to Aboriginal anger at the jury acquittals in the killings of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine on the Prairies.

Social media posts were circulating following the incident with pictures of Boushie, Fontaine and Francis side by side, and many were tweeting #justiceforbrady, echoing hashtags used after the recent Prairie verdicts.

Said one Twitter user at the time: “All we can do is pray that Canada gets this one right.”

But Levi said Wednesday residents now believe the healing can begin.

“The RCMP did a great job in their investigation. Many times we thought nothing was happening because it was so long, a hundred and some-odd days, but today is a good day with lots of emotion,” she said.

She said although Francis was young, he was well respected in the community.

“This past weekend there was a Brady memorial volleyball tournament. We had a big thing on his birthday on April 21. They had a dart tournament. So Brady is always on our mind, day in and day out. We lost a great man.”

Levi said he was always smiling, never in trouble, and planning to go to school to get a trade this fall.

INDEX: NATIONAL JUSTICE ATLANTIC

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