Charges laid in La Loche riot



The burned-out shell of an RCMP truck damaged during the Sept. 30 riot in La Loche.

By Ben Ingram

Three men have been charged in relation to a riot that occurred in La Loche during the early morning hours of Sept. 30.

Facing charges that include assaulting an officer with a weapon, arson, mischief, obstruction and participating in a riot are Deano Laprise, 22, Fabian Laprise, 27, and 25-year-old Randall Laprise.

Damage included a police truck that was completely destroyed by fire and an ambulance that will need several windows replaced.

According to the RCMP, members in La Loche responded at 3:15 a.m. to a fire complaint.

The officers observed two ATVs approaching their position and one of the riders lost control when driving into the ditch to avoid the police truck. Officers approached a 29-year-old man who identified himself before passing out.

That’s when RCMP say bottles and beer cans began to be thrown at them by people observing the events. An ambulance was called to the scene and paramedics also reportedly had items thrown at them.

“Several people surrounded the police truck and were swearing at the members, blaming them for the injuries to the unconscious male,” an RCMP press release said, describing the events.

“While members of La Loche detachment were at the hospital to check on the injured male, a crowd of approximately 50 – 70 people assembled outside.”

Members of the RCMP had to barricade themselves inside the hospital with the staff, using pepper spray to keep the crowd at bay.

“All members of the La Loche RCMP detachment were then deployed and responded to the hospital to disperse the crowd and extract the members from inside,” Cpl. Rob King of the RCMP wrote.

But members of the La Loche community have said the size of the crowd has been exaggerated in reports by RCMP and the media.

The mayor of La Loche, Georgina Jolibois, said the numbers were closer to being between 10 and 20.

She said it is a common occurrence to have crowds form outside of hospitals upon hearing that a family member or friend has been injured.

“Immediately people jump to conclusions that he had been killed because he was unconscious,” she said in relation to Friday’s events.

Jolibois described the mood in La Loche as quiet following the incident.

“People are feeling nervous about who to trust…A lot of healing is required,” she said.

Pointing to the need for a mending of the relationship between police and residents in the area of La Loche, Jolibois said community leaders have to come together to identify the challenges and problems they face, as well as offer workable solutions.

Heading into the election season, it could be something on the radar for Athabasca MLA candidates Buckley Belanger and Bobby Woods.

Neither would comment on the events specifically, but both offered their vision of how to work towards creating a positive relationship between people and their police.

“I think that talking with the RCMP…With the resources in the community and seeing where we can support one another,” Woods offered. “What the issues are and how best to deal with them.”

For the current MLA of Athabasca, his hope is that La Loche will not be negatively impacted by what he described as an isolated incident.

“Anytime you have a relationship building with the RCMP, it’s always a work in progress. It becomes a daunting task but I think there are people that can make this work and will make this work,” Belanger said.

The three men charged in relation to the events appeared in La Loche provincial court yesterday at 10 a.m.

2 Responses to “Charges laid in La Loche riot”
  1. Suscho Dene says:

    “Riot, Rampage or Illegal Gathering…” These are just terms, that don’t spell out the real Issue(s) that are affecting LaLoche as a whole. The Media and/or Laloche Community may term this incident anyway they please, but LaLoche residents ought to consider where they want to go, as opposed to, where they have been.

    LaLoche has yet to learn what it means to be a Community, a Community that extends itself to the rest of the world in achievemnet and properity.

    Safety, Healthy Living, and Activities which promotes viatality need to be broadcasted. People are living in Fear, and are scared to speak out. This is the type of Issue that needs to be abolished. The ongoing Addiction Issues needs to be given some inside and outside attention…in the area of Support, Aftercare and Ongoing Support.

    LaLoche Heath Care Agencies need to extend themselves too, and the local RCMP should follow suit. LaLoche can’t do this without Support and that Issue needs to be Accepted…this is not an Issue of Pride, this is an Issue of LIFE and DEATH, but “Success” too.

    I encourage the LaLoche community to reach out to the rest of the world for assistance. I mentioned to my cousin in a recent dialogue that we could all remain hateful, but we need to move beyond the Emotional aspect and gather as a Community to place some solutions into action.

    Drinking is not the issue, Addiction is…anyone can drink, but it’s how we go about it and how we deal with the after effects that has on ourselves and others.

    Suicide? Another Issue that many people don’t give attention to. Suicide Solutions aren’t Taboo, they are meant for prevention and safety of a person.

    I invite LaLoche members to come to Vancouver to explore what this city does to assist their own Communities at large. I am A Dene person who has roots and Family in LaLoche, and I’d like to go there one day knowing I’m in a Community that has Empowered one another to move beyond the past atrocities.

    This is not the “Look What The White Man Has Done To Us” era anymore, nor is it just a Racist/Political Issue. It’s a “We” slash “LaLoche Community Issue” that needs to be address like yesterday.

    This will take Leadership to initiate change…”Who’s Up To The Challenge Of Taking Up The Cause?

    Barry W. LeMaigre’

  2. Glendon toews says:

    This comment hits the nail on the head. I was in La Loche working for Gabriel
    Dumont out of the High School Wing where old family Fueds like the Montgrand/Laprise reminded one of the fued depicted in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.

    As you say it is time to move on

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