Trojan baseball has the tools for success

first_imgTrojan baseball is coming back to Dedeaux Field this Friday in a season that can go either way for the Trojans. On one hand, USC hasn’t had a winning season since 2015 and that losing culture may prevail inside the team’s locker room, if it does not start off strong. However, there is evidence suggesting that these Trojans have the potential to prove their doubters wrong and claim their first winning season since 2015. The bottom line? There are positives for USC baseball this season.The first positive for the Trojans is that they are all returning players — except for the first baseman — who played key roles last season.The middle infield is loaded with talent from players such as senior Brandon Perez, senior Chase Bushor and sophomore Ben Ramirez. Last season, Ramirez started off the campaign strong at shortstop, living up to the hype that surrounded him after he was drafted the year before. Nothing seemed to faze Ramirez, who hit lights out and made unbelievable plays in the field until he got injured. While he struggled to come back from the injury and play at the same elite level. Ramire proved his talent in his first few collegiate games.During Ramirez’s absence, Bushor stepped up and filled the gap at shortstop. After a few games, it became evident that it was Bushor’s spot to lose, as he not only fielded well but was also one of the most consistent batters on the team, despite starting the season as a backup. He finished the year second on the team with a .301 batting average.Brandon Perez is another player worth watching. While he didn’t bat very consistently last season, finishing only .237 on the year, he earned Gold Glove honors as the top defensive third baseman in the country. If he finds a better groove hitting the ball this season, the Trojans may have one of the best infielders in the Pac-12. His leadership on and off the field will be vital to the team’s success this season.Switching over to the outfield, junior outfielder Matthew Acosta has the potential to become a Pac-12 star this season. Acosta competes at an elite level with a powerful bat and great fielding ability. Last year, Acosta failed to find consistency in performances every game, but he still showed glimpses of his true potential. If head coach Dan Hubbs can find a way to bring out more consistency from Acosta, the Trojans will have a constant RBI threat that pitchers fear. Last season, Acosta finished with a .263 batting average and 26 RBI. Acosta is capable of being the team’s go-to player at the plate, but he will have to improve those numbers first.Moreover, there is room for improvement in pitching, and some of the Trojans have already shown glimpses of brilliance. Sophomore pitcher Kyle Hurt is a prime example of a player that promises to be one of the best pitchers not only in the conference, but also in the NCAA. The sophomore was drafted two years ago, but decided to forgo the draft and play college baseball for the Trojans. He had a turbulent year, finishing at 4-5 with a 4.76 ERA. However, during the season, he managed to pitch a no-hitter as a freshman in a Pac-12 game against Utah. Hurt reaches above 90 miles per hour with his fastball. If he can find more consistent control, Hurt can prove a challenge for opposing batters.In relief, junior pitcher Connor Lunn has the ability to take care of leads and close out games for the Trojans. Lunn was recently placed on the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association watch list for top relievers in the country. If the Trojans can find a way to lead late in games, they should be confident that Lunn can finish teams off with ease.The Trojans did lose some key players last season, including Dillon Paulson at first base, Lars Nootbaar in the outfield and Solomon Bates on the mound. Paulson and Nootbaar offered powerful bats and a home run threat every time they stepped up to the plate, and Bates was the Trojans’ best pitcher. However, the Trojans will come into the year with more starters who have collegiate baseball experience. If the Trojans can start the season strong and find their momentum, they will find success. However, the Arkansas series in the second week of the season could be an obstacle for USC. If they do well in that series, the team will prove that it may see a winning season once again.last_img read more

Tatum, Celtics 3-0; Summer League set for tournament stage

first_imgPagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Boston, winner of a record 17 NBA championships, is one of six undefeated teams after the preliminary stage on the campus of UNLV.The Memphis Grizzlies also are 3-0 after overcoming 37 points from Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell in an 84-81 overtime victory. Mitchell, the No. 13 pick from Louisville, added eight steals.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsToronto is the No. 1 seed, followed by Cleveland, Dallas, Memphis, the Clippers and Boston, as the tournament stage begins. The top eight seeds have byes until Thursday’s second round, while Nos. 9-24 are scheduled to play Wednesday.A look at the six games played Tuesday, including one that went to sudden death: Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes BULLS 82, WIZARDS 73Lauri Markkanen bounced back from a poor performance with 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bulls over the winless Wizards.Markkanen, the No. 7 pick from Arizona, missed all 10 3-point attempts and went 1 for 13 overall in a loss a night earlier.Antonio Blakeney led Chicago (1-2) with 23 points while Denzel Valentine, who also struggled Monday, contributed 15 points and six rebounds.Sheldon McClellan scored 20 points for Washington (0-3).MAVERICKS 78, HEAT 73Yogi Ferrell, a second-team All-Rookie selection, scored 23 points to lead the Mavericks in the battle of unbeatens.No. 9 pick Dennis Smith Jr. added 16 points and five assists as Dallas improved to 3-0.Okaro White had 17 points and 11 rebounds, while rookie big man Bam Adebayo had 13 points and nine boards for Miami (2-1).center_img Jayson Tatum #11 of the Boston Celtics stands on the court during a 2017 Summer League game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 9, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Boston won 70-64. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Ethan Miller/Getty Images/AFPJayson Tatum might not need long to win his first championship with the Boston Celtics.The Celtics improved to 3-0 in the NBA Summer League on Tuesday with an 88-83 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Tatum, the No. 3 pick in the draft, had 15 points and six rebounds.ADVERTISEMENT CELTICS 88, 76ERS 83Jabari Bird also had 15 points for the Celtics, going 7 of 10 from the field. Demetrius Jackson scored all of his 14 in the fourth quarter, while Ante Zizic had 12 points and 13 rebounds.Jaylen Brown played just 13 minutes, scoring seven points before leaving with a bruised thigh.Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had 16 points for the 76ers (1-2).GRIZZLIES 84, JAZZ 81, OTADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Dillon Brooks came off the Memphis bench for 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting, including a 3-pointer with a minute left in OT. The former Oregon star finished the game by blocking Mitchell’s tying 3-point attempt with 0.2 seconds to play.Wayne Selden added 17 points and Wade Baldwin IV had 15.Mitchell scored 14 points in the fourth quarter before Travis Leslie tied it with a jumper with 2.6 seconds to go in regulation. Utah fell to 0-3.TIMBERWOLVES 78, WARRIORS 76, 2 OTC.J. Williams made a floater in the lane in the sudden-death second overtime to give Minnesota its second straight victory.Matt Costello had 14 points and 15 rebounds, while Williams also scored 14 points for the Timberwolves (2-1). Perry Ellis and Marcus Paige each had 13.Patrick McCaw scored 20 points and Bryce Alford had 16 for the Warriors (0-3), while Jordan Bell provided the defense. The second-rounder from Oregon finished with 11 rebounds, six blocks, five assists and five steals.SPURS 99, TRAIL BLAZERS 85Bryn Forbes scored 35 points, making six 3-pointers, as the Spurs improved to 2-1.Caleb Swanigan, the No. 26 pick out of Purdue, led Portland (1-2) with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Lakers sign Caldwell-Pope for 1 year, $18 million LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ View commentslast_img read more

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Sweden can win the FIFA World Cup 2018

first_imgSweden’s record goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes his country has the firepower to beat any team and win the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia.Sweden will face favourites England in the quarter-finals on Saturday and Ibrahimovic said coach Janne Andersson side can handle the pressure on the big occasion.Speaking to reporters at LA Galaxy’s training facility in Los Angeles, the 36-year-old, who retired from international football after Euro 2016, said the stakes are getting higher in the knockout stages.”Now it’s not just about how good you are. Now there are a lot of emotions in the picture, because it’s about quarter-finals. The team that can handle their feelings best will have an advantage,” he said.FIFA WORLD CUP 2018 FULL COVERAGE | FIXTURES”Yes, I think Sweden can become world champion, just like I said before the World Cup started. They beat Mexico, which was strong, and then they defeated Switzerland as well. So they have had success, as nobody thought they would,” he said.Ibrahimovic scored 62 goals in 116 games for his country and a debate raged about whether or not Janne Andersson should bring him back into the squad for Russia, but they seem to be doing well enough without him.”Now it’s about England on Saturday and we are all there with our full support behind them. All the Swedes in the world are proud of our national team and they will continue to be proud, regardless of how it goes,” Ibra said.LATEST PICTURES FROM WORLD CUPIbrahimovic, who scored a spectacular bicycle kick against England in the first game at the Friends Arena in Stockholm in 2012, also had a good-natured dig at another high-profile figure with an LA Galaxy connection and an interest in the game.advertisement”I’m Swedish and I believe in Sweden against England, so we’ll see what David Beckham says when I talk to him,” he said.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img read more

Necessary Force For the last two years Nunaviks police force has been

first_imgKnown in Quebec by their French acronym BEI, Quebec’s independent investigation bureau is mandated to investigate cases where a person is grievously injured or killed by police. Formed in July 2016, the BEI has investigated the KRPF 10 times. Many of the cases involve shootings, but not all.One case from April 2017 involved a young Inuk man dying in KRPF custody in Puvirnituq’s jail, despite the fact that in 2016, Quebec’s ombudsmen released a scathing report describing overcrowded conditions in jails in Nunavik as third world and unsanitary. They called for a complete overhaul for how people in Nunavik are detained a year before the Inuk man died in the Puvirnituq jail.Another open BEI investigation includes that of Mina Aculiak, who sustained several broken ribs, six fractured vertebrae, a broken left arm, a punctured lung, as well as a lacerated kidney and liver after being hit by a pursuing KRPF patrol car in Umiujaq, QC.“When I heard that she got struck by a police truck, it came to my mind, ‘why?’” Aculiak’s partner Paul Tookalook told APTN News in June.The petit Aculiak said she was running from police after shoplifting knives.“Why not run after her, pepper spray her? Not hit her,” asked Tookalook.The seriousness of most of Aculiak’s injuries were not immediately reported to the BEI by the KRPF, even though they are obligated to do so.  KRPF maintains that when Aculiak was medivacked to a hospital, it was thought that she only had a broken arm, and that the BEI was notified more than once about her more serious injuries.“When we noticed that the injury, a few weeks, I think a month later, it was more injured, we called back and told them that,” explained KRPF chief Jean Larose.Yet it wasn’t until Aculiak’s case received media attention two months after the incident that the BEI started investigating. When asked why the KRPF has so many violent encounters with Inuit, Larose states the KRPF is doing its best under difficult circumstances.“Right now, our police force, my men, is really out of breath and we are kind of on the respirator,” Larose said, exasperation showing through his normally calm demeanor.In 2017 Nunavik saw more than 11,000 criminal offences, 4,000 more than a decade earlier. For a population of 13,000, that’s almost one incident per person. Larose says when compared to the Montreal suburb he used to police, those rates are nearly 20 times higher.While Inuit in Nunavik still maintain strong ties to their land, language, and culture, they are also recovering from decades of colonial practices that include, but are not limited to, residential schools, forced relocations, and a sled dog slaughter by RCMP. The 11,000 criminal offences from 2017 include over 3,000 assaults and nearly 450 sexual assaults. Statistics show the majority of these crimes are alcohol related. Factor in that a rifle is rarely far from reach, and dangerous situations will arise.In June Larose was called to testify as an expert for the National Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and girls inquiry. There he described the KRPF as overworked, understaffed, and under-equipped to deal with the realities of policing Nunavik.“I was very shocked by the amount of work and the amount of incidents I’ve seen on my first five months on the job,” he testified, despite the fact colleagues had warned him that the job was going to be challenging.Larose also testified that in order for the KRPF to adequately police Nunavik, they need 30 more officers. Despite rising crime and population rates, they haven’t had a staff increase in 15 years. He also says a call centre, more specialized training, and equipment is a must.“It’s kind of basic things that we are asking, and I think that they understand, but the bottom line is, the money has to come,” stated Larose.The KRPF’s 2017 budget was $20 million, but this year they find themselves in limbo. While Quebec has increased its funds for KRPF, the federal government has yet to sign off on a new agreement.Larose says the five-year offer on the table isn’t much more than the rate of inflation.Public Safety Canada, who pays for 52 per cent of funding for Indigenous police forces (while the provinces pick up the remaining 48 per cent), declined to be interviewed for this story. In January of this year, they announced an increase in funding for Indigenous policing by nearly $300 million for nearly five years.“When you look at the crime statistics in communities that have the [Indigenous] policing program, you see a distinctly better pattern than elsewhere, so the program works, it simply needs to have more horsepower,” said Public Security Minister Ralph Goodale at a January press conference announcing the funding increase.The feds say a chunk of the new money will pay for some of that horsepower, including up to 110 additional police officers. But those new officers are to be spread out among 185 Indigenous police forces across Canada, an average of less than one officer per Indigenous police force. Which means the KRPF is in tough to get the 30 officers they say they need.“We’re way behind what the program is offering us, and we have to apply and we’re not sure if we will have some officers in Nunavik from that federal program,” said Larose.When asked about why $20 million isn’t enough, Larose adds that remote forces such as his have unique challenges. For instance, about 15 per cent, or $3.3 million a year of KRPF’s budget is spent on moving Inuit detainees back and forth from prison in southern Quebec to Nunavik for trial because there is nowhere to hold them long term in Nunavik.Sometimes an Inuit detainee will fly back and forth a half dozen times before their case is settled.Larose also points to KRPF’s high turnover rate and that training new officers costs them $20,000 more a year than other police forces as other reasons the existing budget doesn’t cut it.“I believe that the Inuit community deserves a good police force with all the services as they do back in the south. That’s why we are insisting in this agreement and we want what we ask for, it’s a must,” said Larose, who hopes to have to have a new agreement with the feds before the end of the year.(Elisapi Napartuk is the sister of Jobie Napartuk, who was killed by police in 2014. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTN)He also acknowledges that for many in Nunavik, the police have a public relations problem.Lucy Nowra puts it succinctly.“Inuit people don’t trust police because they think they’re gonna get shot.”But KRPF also have reason to be wary. Visit the Canadian police officer’s memorial in Ottawa, and you’ll see among the 850 names that of 27-year-old Steve Déry. In 2013, KRPF officer Déry was shot to death while responding to a domestic violence call in Kuujjuaq, QC.Another officer was seriously injured before the Inuk shooter took his own life.“It’s still in the memories,” said Larose when asked if the Déry murder hangs heavy over the KRPF.Larose says that, agreement or not, he has implemented new measures to reduce violence and regain trust in Nunavik’s 14 communities. He emphasizes that KRPF officers now receive sensitivity training from an Inuk Elder and increased efforts to recruit more Inuit officers are underway.“I can understand their mistrust because I understand what happened in the past. What I can tell them is that I am somebody who is very open minded and I believe in prevention and working with them. And our police officers also want to get involved and they want more good relations with the Inuit population,” concluded Larose.Lucy Nowra acknowledges that the police have a difficult job here. She would know, she’s had her own run ins with the law.“I started drinking a lot. Smoking a lot. It was my way of coping with the losses that I had. So it led me to drug dealing. In 2013, it was a way for me to get free drugs and alcohol. So I didn’t think of it that way and the impacts back then because I was younger, and then it all caught up to me, I got arrested and was sent to jail for six months.”Nowra has long since turned things around. Now a 30-year-old responsible mother to three who involves herself in the community, she is currently finishing cooking school. She just wishes that some of the people she knew, such as Jobie Napartuk, Jimmy Kingalik, Alakagiallak Nowkawalk, had gotten the same second chance.Which is why the self-described loud mouth decided to speak up. She felt somebody had to.“It’s very hard for Inuit to just complain because we’re usually people who forgive easily and forget,” said Nowra.But after years of violent confrontations, forgiving and forgetting isn’t coming easy.Most would agree the status quo only continues to worsen Nunavik’s frayed relationship with its own police force. And while change may be just over the horizon…in the vast isolated land of Nunavik, the horizon has a way of appearing very far away.tfennario@aptn.ca@tomfennario “It was really shocking for the community. It was like people were dying one after another in the hands of the police officers” – Lucy Nowra Tom FennarioAPTN InvestigatesThe cell phone video is gritty and the camera’s shakiness adds an ominous touch.In the video, the remnants of dusk are fading in what looks to be a remote community.A shadow can be glimpsed running on the gravel road beside a row of houses.A sharp rifle shot rings out, and the shadow, presumably a police officer, crouches behind a vehicle for cover. Tommy NingiukLucy Nowra filmed this from her window just across the street.“I live a few houses down and tried talking him out of it. But when I fell asleep this early morning he started shooting again,” wrote Nowra in a Facebook message to APTN Investigates mere hours after the incident.On Sept. 4, 2018, Tommy Ningiuk, 40, fired several shots from his home in Inukjuak, Qc.At one point he paused to send a selfie to Nowra during the 14 hour stand-off with police.In it Ningiuk is holding a hunting rifle, a thin smile on his face. Nowra’s phone shows that she missed a video call from Ningiuk just before 3:00 a.m.He also sent her a brief message near 8:00 a.m. that simply read “Hi.” By the time Lucy wrote him back at 12:30 p.m., he had died in an exchange of gunfire with the police.“I talked him out of it, but I fell asleep,” wrote Nowra, her words tinged with guilt. “I’m so hurt, another soul lost to this.”Most small towns like Inukjuak (population 1,600) would consider an armed stand-off with police an extraordinary event. But for Nowra, it’s not even the first time an armed stand-off has happened on her street.(Lucy Nowra is from Inukjuak. She thinks the police need to do more to prevent volatile situations from turning violent. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTN)In November 2015,  Peter Weetaluktuk, 18, was shot by police after brandishing his rifle.“It was that house, that brown one over there,” said Nowra in July of 2018, pointing to a house about 100 metres down her street.“That’s how close it was to our place.”Weetaluktuk survived the shooting, but others have not been so fortunate.Jobie Napartuk“Many people in town have been shot. Some of them have been killed,” said Nowra, who thinks Inuit are all too often blamed for getting shot. She believes that police need to do a better job diffusing situations that turn volatile.“It was really shocking for the community. It was like people were dying one after another in the hands of the police officers,” Nowra said.It started in 2014 when Elisapi Napartuk’s 29-year-old brother Jobie was shot and killed by police. She describes Jobie as good father who had an oddball sense of humour.“He could’ve lived more. He was only 29 years old. He had eight children, they were all under 18 years old and he left them,” lamented Napartuk.(Jobie Napartuk, pictured here with the youngest of his eight children, was 29 years old when he was shot and killed by police. Photo courtesy of the Napartuk family)Police were called to Jobie Naparktuk’s house “to ensure the safety of his family” according to the coroner’s report. He had traces of cannabis and more than two-and-a-half times the legal amount of alcohol in his system when he threw a frying pan and casserole dish at the officers, who then went outside to wait for back up, according to the coroner’s report.That’s when Napartuk came outside, this time brandishing knives. Officers ordered him to drop the knives but he refused and went back inside his house. Police followed him, fearing he may hurt someone inside, according to the report. Once inside they fatally shot him. After an investigation, police were found to have followed procedure despite  Jobie Napartuk’s  death.Many people in Inukjuak wonder to this day why deadly force was necessary. When asked what she felt the police could have done differently regarding her brother’s death Elisapi Napartuk said, “Not to shoot him, like, at least use a taser.”Members of the Kativik Regional Police Force (KRPF) shot Jobie Napartuk. They police Inukjuak and 13 other communities in Nunavik, what the Inuit call their territory in subarctic Quebec.A rash of KRPF incidents that led to injury and death prompted Inukjuak residents to band together in 2014.They demanded less deadly force including tasers to handle precarious situations. Kativik police in Inukjuak did eventually receive tasers, but not until four years later, in Spring 2018.“It’s really unacceptable to take this long,” said Nowra. “I’m sure some of them should’ve ended better, instead of fatally.”Allie and Jimmy KingalikNowra points to the Kingalik brothers as an example.Allie Kingalik was paralyzed by a police shooting in 2014. A year later his younger brother Jimmy was killed after he went into the Inukjuak police station with an ax.(Elisapi Kingalik (R) has had 2 sons shot by police. One is dead, the other has limited mobility from the waist down. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTN)Their mother Elisapi says 27-year-old Jimmy was angry about his brother’s shooting, but after a shed fire that left him severely burned to the point of being handicapped, she doesn’t see how Jimmy could’ve posed much of a threat to police.“He was weak. I don’t know why they did that to a person who was handicapped,” said Kingalik in Inuktitut. “They could’ve got a shield for themselves and then grabbed the weapon from him. They’ve could’ve asked for some assistance.“Why did they do that?”Aibillie Niviaxie was in a jail cell at the station when Jimmy Kingalik was shot. He recalls that from his vantage point, he was able to see the officers, but not Kingalik.“When Jimmy came into the police station, and they gave him three shots,” said Niviaxie, turning his hand into the shape of a hand gun, “and maybe he was trying to get up again and the police was screaming and shot him three times again.”The coroner’s report differs, saying police shot five times, hitting Kingalik with four bullets, the last of which killed him.The report does confirm, through security camera footage, that after being hit twice, Kingalik fell and tried to get up before being shot twice again. It also says there was no apparent motive for Jimmy to threaten KRPF officers with an ax, even though his brother had previously been paralyzed by a KRPF bullet.What the family has the most trouble grasping is why the police didn’t disarm a handicapped Jimmy after the first bullets knocked him down. Elisapi Kingalik said that she’s been waiting eagerly on the investigation being done on her son’s death to find out.But the investigation was completed in 2016, she just hadn’t been told about it.  Instead APTN Investigates informed her that the investigation has been concluded and that the officers had been found to be acting correctly.“So no one will explain to me who was at fault?” Kingalik asked, seemingly to no one and everyone at the same time.(Aibille Niviaxie witnessed the police shooting of Jimmy Kingalik. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTN)One person who might be able to answer is Jean-Pierre Larose. With nearly 40 years of experience in policing, Larose took over the post of KRPF Chief in February. He says equipment and training for less lethal force are being introduced, but that it’s not as simple as handing officers a taser.“We can use it in certain circumstances and I’m aware of that, especially up north when Inuit have parkas outside, there’s no effect on them, the tasers, so we are looking into some alternative impact weapons right now,” Larose explainedHe also adds that he’s implementing more follow up care after violence, for both police and family. Specifically, Larose says he’s spoken to the body that investigates police shootings, the Bureau des Enquêtes Indépendantes (BEI) about reporting back to family members such as Elisapi Kingalik.“I explained to them the importance of explaining of what’s going on, what’s going to be the investigation, not only with the family but with the town council,” Larose stated.Alakagiallak NowkawalkBut for some families, there’s no solace to be had. In 2015, 23-year-old Alakagiallak Nowkawalk fired a shot in his girlfriend’s direction after she left his house following an argument. It set into motion a three day stand-off with police that led to Alakagiallak’s death. It was ruled a suicide: something the Nowkawalk family refuses to accept.(Alakagiallak Nowkawalk died after a 3 day stand off with police. His death was ruled a suicide, but his family thinks differently. Photo courtesy of the Nowkawalk family)Charlie Nowkawalk, Alakagiallak’s uncle, says the family’s doubts come from examining his corpse. What doesn’t make sense to Charlie, an experienced hunter, is that there was no exit wound.“I checked the body, I looked at the body, I even took some pictures of the body and there was a little teeny, tiny hole right there right in the centre and nothing in the back,” Charlie said, pointing towards his sternum.Quebec’s provincial police, who took over from the local Kativik police during the stand-off, told the coroner that Alakagiallak turned the gun on himself after they stormed the house.The report states they took that drastic action after 28 hours of negotiations went nowhere. Also according to the coroner report, Alakagiallak had a burn on his chest that indicates he was shot from very close, or even point blank range with a Tikka brand .223 found near his body. But Charlie said the rifle his nephew used to allegedly kill himself was too powerful to not leave an exit wound.Charlie is also convinced that his nephew didn’t own a .223 rifle, but rather an even more powerful .243 rifle.“If he used that big rifle, .243 which we use for caribou hunting or big game hunting, that’s a strong rifle. If he used that there would have been a big hole in his back,” said Charlie, who frequently hunted with Alakagiallak.Alakagiallak Nowkawalk’s mother Minnie Nowkawalk is sitting on her couch next to her husband Noah Ehalook. He comforts Minnie frequently as she repeatedly breaks into tears while discussing the death of their son. Chief among Minnie’s complaints are that negotiations with Alakagiallak were handled poorly.“They work alone, we weren’t even able to phone him. Only the police were able to call him,” Nowkawalk said in Inuktitut.Neither the KRPF nor Quebec provincial police have negotiators who speak in Inuktitut, the mother tongue of the vast majority of Inuit. Out of 48 KRPF patrol officers, three are Inuit.“There was absolutely no help between my son and the police. Both sides were lacking help,” said Minnie Nowkawalk.Lucy Nowra says that she has firsthand experience that Inuk negotiators work. When she heard on the local radio that there was yet another stand-off with police, she drove to the house where it was happening.“Three police trucks were blocking the road. They were stopping us from going in but I just passed them, I went in and I continued. I didn’t care if they were going to arrest me. I was thinking ‘my God, I don’t want to lose another person I don’t want to lose another family member,’” recalled Nowra.When asked about getting Inuktitut speaking negotiators for perilous situations, KRPF Chief Larose wasn’t sure how it could be implemented, but stopped short of dismissing the idea.“There’s special rules. It’s the SQ [Quebec Provincial Police] that takes over the operation and they have their own negotiator. But I think that it would be effective to maybe have an Elder, maybe beside the negotiators, to get involved. I don’t know but it would be interesting to have that right away in the community, to have somebody close to the negotiator to help us,” Larose said.“Our culture is different from Qallunaat, white people’s culture, it would be more comfortable to speak with an Inuk who’s understanding, rather than someone else, who’s white who wouldn’t understand what I’m going through or what I’m trying to say,” explained Nowra.It’s impossible to know if Inuktitut speaking negotiators or translators would’ve helped Jobie Napartuk, Jimmy Kingalik, or Alakagiallak Nowkawalk, who all died violently less than a year a part.What is known is that since then there have been others all over Nunavik. From July 2016 to Tommy Ningiuk in September 2018 Kativik police were involved in about 10 percent of all cases where police kill or seriously injure people in Quebec. That’s third in the province out of 26 police forces and, according to CBC research into police shootings, the most fatalities for any Indigenous police force in Canada during that time.For perspective, KRPF has had nearly half as many officer-involved fatality cases as the Montreal police. yet they KRPF officers police an equivalent of less than one per cent of Montreal’s population. Crunch the numbers, and the rate the KRPF kills or injures someone is 55 times that of Montreal police.last_img read more