Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut January 21, 2016 - 4:00 pm

Coroner’s inquest finally called into Igloolik police shooting death

Felix Taqqaugaq died in confrontation with police at his Igloolik home in 2012

Shortly after RCMP officers fatally shot Felix Taqqaugaq in 2012, they were transferred out of the detachment, above, and reassigned elsewhere. (FILE PHOTO)
Shortly after RCMP officers fatally shot Felix Taqqaugaq in 2012, they were transferred out of the detachment, above, and reassigned elsewhere. (FILE PHOTO)

More than four years after Felix Taqqaugaq was fatally shot by police in Igloolik, the Office of the Chief Coroner for Nunavut will hold an inquest into the circumstances surrounding his death.

In a news release issued Jan. 21, the coroner’s office says it will hold that inquest from Nov. 1 to Nov. 10 in Igloolik.

“The purpose of this inquest is to explore the circumstances surrounding the death of Mr. Felix Taqqaugaq who died in Igloolik on Mar. 20, 2012 following a confrontation with RCMP members,” the news release said.

Anyone who wishes to participate or make a presentation is invited to call the coroner’s office at 867-975-6318.

Taqqaugaq, a 29-year-old man with a history of mental illness, was fatally shot by police who had attended his home after someone from the community called in a complaint.

Elizabeth Kappaniaq told Nunatsiaq News last October that most people in town knew her brother Felix — a father and husband — was being treated and medicated for mental illness.

She said she had an understanding with local RCMP officers that they would call her first if her brother was having problems because she was adept at calming him down and diffusing potentially volatile situations.

But for some reason, police did not call her that night and their confrontation with Felix spun out of control and ended with him being shot, Kappaniaq said, in front of his common-law wife and their four-year-old daughter.

“They were supposed to call me every time they go over to his place,”  Kappaniaq said last October. “That’s why I was so angry. I was home. It’s the one question I keep asking: why didn’t they call me right away? I thought they were good officers. We had been working together as a team.”

Those questions, and likely a host of others, will no doubt be explored during the inquest in November.

The Ottawa Police Service investigated the events and conduct of police involved in that incident and then handed their results to Nunavut RCMP in late October 2015. When asked about the investigation report, Nunavut RCMP declined to comment saying they did not want to prejudice the coroner’s process.

When asked last October if the two officers from Igloolik would be called to testify at the inquest, RCMP Cpl. Dave Lawson said that would be up to the coroner but, in a case like this, it’s customary for the officers to appear.

Igloolik has been beset by several tragedies in the past few years.

In December 2014, the community hosted another coroner’s inquest, this one into the death-in-police-custody of Artcirq performer Solomon Uyarasuk.

Also in December 2014, Igloolik lost another Artcirq performer, Joey Ammaq.

The north Baffin community also suffered through the loss of Tracy Uttak, 26, after she was violently stabbed to death by a teenager in November 2012.

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