‘Cops are hard on people like me and my friends‘ — Evan Maud, Nov. 13, 2012
Who is Evan Michelle Maud?
And why would he lie about Winnipeg police taking him on a so-called ‘starlight tour’ in late 2010 only to be snared in a web of embarrassing lies which police utterly ripped apart in short order thanks to GPS, surveillance cameras and other investigative means?
I can’t answer that. What I can tell you is a little more about Mr. Maud, his upbringing and background, which may help those interested come to understand a little more about the 22-year-old and his circumstances. Many people still clearly have questions.
At his last public appearance to apologize for bringing the false claims against the police, Maud didn’t take any questions.
Instead he was ushered out of the room after reading a three-minute long statement (below) which didn’t actually say, ‘I lied.’
Many hearing the statement questioned Maud’s sincerity given the ‘mea culpa’ was apparently key to the public mischief charge he was facing being dropped.
‘Restorative justice in action’ was how it was essentially sold to the public/media by Onashowewin, a Manitoba aboriginal justice agency for which I have a great respect for with respect to their work on private Gladue pre-sentencing reports often tabled in court.
Maud was also the subject of a PSR with a Gladue component — this one authored by a Manitoba Corrections officer. But it wasn’t relating to the ‘starlight tour’ hijinks. It was instead written to inform the judge who handled his January sentencing for attacking an innocent man after being punted from a party in the North End on his 21st birthday in November 2011.
(Without going off on a tangent, it appears one of the concerns about the adequacy of Corrections Gladue reports raised by the Manitoba Court of Appeal late last year has been addressed.)
The report tabled concerning Mr. Maud, compiled by a probation officer in the aptly-named Corrections Random Assault Unit — was thorough, lengthy and detailed and involved interviews with several people who’ve known him his entire life.
The bulk of what’s in it is presented below.
A life-long member and resident of the Cross Lake First Nation, Maud’s father, 59, is a community councillor and support worker who spent 15 years in residential schools as there were no other schooling options in the community in his youth.
He went on to leave the community briefly to study at university in Brandon. Cross Lake, population roughly 7,000, is a community which continues to feel the pain of the residential schools legacy.
Today, Maud’s dad says, there are few options for folks to make a way for themselves.
“There are widespread issues of drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, suicide, vandalism and other types of crime,” he told the PO.
Hailing from Skownan First Nation north of Winnipeg, the 51-year-old has lived away from her home community for most of her life, returning frequently there to visit relatives.
“(Her) family comes from a long line of very traditional people who have continued to practice indigenous styles of healthy living, sustenance, spirituality and preservation of their heritage and language.”
Like Cross Lake, however, the shadow of Rez schools has led the community and its people down the sad path of years of poverty, drug and booze issues, domestic violence, suicide and a lack of community services, the report says.
In 1996 — an unspecified standoff left the community “torn apart” and left a trail of family breakdowns and migration away for security and safety reasons.
“Homes were looted and burned to the ground and many people never returned.”
Since then, Skownan has rebuilt and a sense of habitat returned. A gaming centre has brought jobs and a construction company and business centre have become local sources of pride, the report suggests.
Maud’s early years through his troubled teens:
Born in Thompson to his parents, the couple’s relationship didn’t last and they lived apart during their brief time together. Although Maud’s mom was his primary caregiver, he did spend time with his father over the years and the two have grown close.
He has a half-sister and three half-brothers. Maud as a child, according to his dad, was “very independent, curious and quiet.”
“(Dad) also noted that his son clearly understood the difference between right and wrong and would spend a great deal of time asking questions and trying to figure things out on his own.”
Curiously, Maud was made to feel unwelcome by Cross Lake band members.
His mom says Maud was a “difficult son to manage.”
“She indicated she felt he acted up on purpose to get attention.”
In an emotional interview with the probation officer/report writer, Maud’s mom described her parenting skills as wanting and that she did to her kids “what was done to me.”
In his youth, Maud suffered through an abusive relationship his mom undertook and was made victim of physical and sexual abuse, the report says. Mom describes his upbringing as a “rough childhood.”
“She worried about her son as her was very accident prone, acting out first, suffering through consequences after and he experienced numerous injuries as a child.”
Mom was a rover, taking Maud and his step-sister from home to home and school to school across three provinces in his youth. As of late 2012, she has been 25 years sober.
A cousin who now lives in Toronto recalled how Maud “was a curious child, very sociable, outgoing, liked to make up stories and was always asking questions.”
The sister dubbed Maud “the million question kid,” saying he was curious, liked reading and “asked too many questions.”
“She believed her brother began to get into trouble after she left home, was influenced by other teenagers and got caught up in marijuana and alcohol.”
He was no stranger to bullying — brought about because he wore his hair long.
By 13, Maud was experimenting with weed and mushrooms. By 15, he was drinking. At 16 he fell into the clutches of an unnamed gang but fought his way out of it the following year.
By Grade 9, Maud was suspended from school — but returned in 2011 to get his GED. In this time, he was living with the cousin, who says he fell into a bad crowd who “pressured him into drinking or took advantage of his good nature.”
“She indicated she believes (Maud) has never really experienced stability in his life, lacked parental support and guidance.”
Today, Maud avoids people from his past, the report noted him as saying. He keeps counsel with one close friend who has no criminal background.
“(Maud) indicated he could not open up to new people easily, and did not like to discuss his past, so making positive friends was difficult.”
He prefers the company of his sister and a girlfriend who describes him as “calm” but worries about his habit of “internalizing everything.”
The girlfriend says he worries about having no job. Maud successfully completed a welding certificate course and had been actively seeking work at the time.
“She commented the subject is trying to make positive changes, find employment and goes for long walks when he is feeling down and needs to clear his head.”
Drinking, she says, is forbidden in her home.
MAUD, in his own (slightly mediated) words:
Calm and quiet in his interview with the PO, Maud says the assault he inflicted on the landlord in Nov. 2011 was “all a blur” because he was so drunk at the time. This admission caused the officer to note he seemed to be “deflecting” the blame for what happened.
“(He) went on to say he believes others judge him unfairly based on his actions, make it sound like he is a bad person for something he doesn’t remember and do not know the real person he believes himself to be … (saying) “Cops are hard on people like me and my friends.”
While he was clear he didn’t want to go to jail, Maud indicated he would do whatever the court wished of him.
He’s never been diagnosed with any mental illness or antisocial disorder.
“He indicated he has low motivation and stays at home so much it feels like a dungeon.”
Of concern to the PO was how Maud displayed no apparent empathy or remorse for the man he attacked.
The officer ranked Maud — using a standardized case-management risk assessment tool — as a high risk to reoffend but concluded he was a suitable candidate for community supervision.
Maud didn’t take questions after issuing his apology to the police and public for the ‘starlight tour’ allegations — delivered through the media who turned up to hear it.
Instead, he was quickly shuffled out of the room and we’ve heard nothing from him since.
I haven’t checked if the public mischief charge he faced as a result of his actions was in fact, dropped as was claimed it would be.
The silence left after the apology been a void simply filled with more questions, all asking, really, the same thing: Why did he do it?
I can’t answer that. Maybe Mr. Maud can’t either.
Maybe it would be unlike the “million question kid’ to have it any other way.
Maud’s Apology in full:
I’m sorry for jeopardizing the reputation of the Winnipeg Police Service. I want to say sorry to the police officers and putting them in that situation. I’m also deeply sorry to their families, friends and colleagues for causing them to doubt, mistrust and question the two police officers. And I am so sorry for that. I understand that would not have happened if I didn’t say the things that I said. I feel bad for what I put them through.
At the time, it was hard. I felt overwhelmed when the TV crews and community took it to a whole new level. Next thing you know, it was all over the place, reporters from different media sources were questioning me. I was scared. I never wanted this to happen. During this time all I wanted was to live my life normally and go to school. It was the worst two years of my life.
I felt bad that my mom moved all the way from the next province to come support me. I put my mom in a situation where she thought she didn’t raise me right. I just made a mistake. I try my best to apologize to everyone that I may have harmed.
I also want to acknowledge the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs for taking the time to help me. I didn’t mean to put my people through this.
I don’t want this to impact anyone from submitting legitimate complaints in the future. I want people to understand that I did not intend for this to happen. I was taught that forgiveness is a part of healing and I need this to move on in life in a positive way. In many ways, I learned how to have respect, how to be truthful and honest. I am part of a youth community, and I want them to think of me as a role model.
I want to encourage youth to tell everything that they know is right. I was able to move forward and graduate school and am now doing good things for myself. In closing, I want to say sorry and thank you for listening.