Friends, family members, and supporters gathered in front of the Court of King’s Bench and marched down Central Avenue on Friday to protest the treatment of 40-year-old Boden Umpherville.
Roughly half-a-dozen Protesters carried signs with Umpherville’s picture on it, and chanted Justice for Boden”. Umpherville was hospitalized after being arrested by Prince Albert police on April 1. He was recently taken off life support after doctors determined there was no brain activity.
“I disagreed with how police handled the situation,” said Charmayne Umpherville, Boden’s cousin and one of the protesters. “It could have been handled a lot better.”
Family members say Boden sustained broken bones and cuts on his head after being arrested. A Saskatchewan Serious Incident Response Team (SIRT) press release stated that Boden was one of three people found inside a black Dodge Avenger that had been reported stolen. The vehicle’s registered owner was among them.
Police used stun guns, collapsible batons, and pepper spray while arrested Boden, the SIRT press release states. The SIRT also reported finding a loaded gun at the scene, but did not specify who it belonged to.
Charmayne said she won’t be satisfied until there’s a thorough investigation into why police reacted the way they did.
“Everybody’s equal,” she said. “We shouldn’t be treated like that.”
Charmayne and the protesters received a few honks of support from drivers passing by on 15th Street East. Charmayne said it means a lot to have that backing.
“It makes my heart happy when people come together and support other Indigenous people on this kind of subject.”
Family members plan to protest again on Monday after Boden’s funeral.
The Prince Albert Police Service has said previously they cannot comment on the incident while it’s under investigation.
PAPS members stopped the vehicle Umpherville was riding in at 2:23 a.m. on April 1 in the 1100 Block of 13th Street West. Witnesses report Umpherville was in the driver’s seat of the vehicle.
Videos of the incident circulated on social media showing police officers deploying conducted energy weapons multiple times, physically striking Boden, and using pepper spray and a baton. A K9 unit was also at the scene.
–with files from Bailey Sutherland/Daily Herald