Protesters gathered outside the Wetaskiwin Courthouse Tuesday July 14, 2020 during the bail hearing for Jesse Cabry.
Jesse and his 19-year-old younger brother Erik Cabry, were arrested at their Maskwacis home June 1, 2020. Both of the Cabry brothers were charged with aggravated assault and held together in cells at the Edmonton Remand Centre.
In the Remand Centre Erik became ill and Jesse says he tried repeatedly to call for medical assistance for his brother. He says that he pushed a button in their cell on four separate occasions to get medical attention for Erik, finally leading to them taking Erik away briefly before returning him to the cell.
Jesse said correctional staff said that Erik’s vital signs were fine.
Erik’s medical situation was getting worse and Jesse said that when he pushed the cell button for help the fourth time, Erik was taken away and didn’t come back.
The next morning he was told that Erik was dead.
Doctors told Wyoma Cabry, Jesse and Erik’s mother, that Erik had a lung infection, that his kidneys were failing and that his heart was enlarged.
Outside the Wetaskiwin Courthouse July 14, protesters including Jamie Smallboy stood with signs reading, “stop systemic racism” and “First Nations lives matter.” Jesse Cabry was scheduled for his bail hearing that morning, the second attempt at an already postponed hearing, which Smallboy suspects the courts will attempt to postpone again.
Smallboy said that the events leading to the Cabry brothers arrests were a result of systemic racism in law enforcement.
“All of it was systemic racism from beginning to end,” she said.
Smallboy said that the arrest and the treatment of the Cabry brothers in the Remand Centre would have been handled differently if they were not Indigenous.
“Had that been a white home, they wouldn’t have went and kicked in the door… They wouldn’t have made an elder pack her grandchildren up and leave in the middle of the night, if that were a white home,” Smallboy said about how the RCMP handled the arrest on June 1, 2020.
“Because it’s an Indigenous home and our people are so accustomed to that treatment it happens so often that they are comfortable with it—they are comfortable with the way they treat us,” Smallboy said. “And that’s why we are here.”
Advocate Lyndsay Vreadner with the Black Lives Matter organization in Edmonton, was also present at the protest, holding signs alongside Smallboy and others as they chanted, “no justice, no peace”—a phrase that has become a popular slogan during the Black Lives Matter movement.
Vreadner said she came to join the protest to help stand against systemic racism against Indigenous peoples. When talking about Erik she said, “His life was lost and there is no justice.”