John Joseph Harper

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John Joseph "J.J." Harper

John Joseph "J.J." Harper was a Canadian aboriginal leader from Wasagamack, Manitoba, who was shot and killed by Winnipeg police constable Constable Robert Cross on March 9, 1988. That event, along with the murder of Helen Betty Osborne, sparked the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry.[1]

During an altercation between Police and Mr. Harper, Constable Robert Cross's weapon discharged resulting in Mr. Harper's death. It was initially ruled an accident; however, a strong public outcry lead to the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry. The inquiry eventually concluded that Constable Robert Cross had used excessive force in the fatal confrontation.[2]


Harper's shooting was described in a 1999 book, "Cowboys & Indians: The Killing of J.J. Harper", written by Winnipeg Free Press columnist Gordon Sinclair Jr., and later a 2003 television movie by the same name. It was directed by Norma Bailey and Harper was played by Adam Beach.[3]