FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — New video has emerged of the violent arrest of a prominent chief of a northern Alberta First Nation.
The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation says the RCMP dash-camera video was released publicly as part of a court application to get criminal charges against Chief Allan Adam stayed.
The 12-minute video, posted by several media outlets, shows an officer approaching Adam’s truck outside a casino in Fort McMurray, Alta., early in the morning of March 10.
The RCMP have said Adam’s truck had expired plates and the video shows Adam getting in and out of the vehicle, aggressively removing his coat and using expletives as he complains about being harassed by police.
An already tense situation deteriorates when a second officer pulls up, charges at Adam, tackles him to the ground and punches him in the head.
The chief, who was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer, was left bloodied and Alberta’s police watchdog agency is now investigating.
The First Nation says Adam’s lawyer, Brian Beresh, has filed a court motion to have criminal charges stayed over infringements of Adam’s charter rights.
“These are now matters of public record,” the band’s statement said. “All of this resulted from an expired license plate tag. The video speaks for itself.”
Adam held a news conference last weekend to raise issues about the arrest.
“Every time our people do wrong … (the RCMP) always seem to use excessive force and that has to stop,” he said. ”Enough is enough.”
Wood Buffalo RCMP said in a statement that the dash-cam video had been reviewed by supervisors and “it was determined that the members’ actions were reasonable and did not meet the threshold for an external investigation.”
Many felt otherwise on social media Thursday night.
“I am deeply disturbed by the video of Chief Adam and the Wood Buffalo RCMP,” tweeted federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.
“This case is rightly being investigated. Excessive use of force by police is always wrong.”
The statement from the First Nation called for the officers involved to be punished.
“It is clear that the RCMP needs to suspend the officers involved in Chief Adam’s assault and refer to provincial Crown counsel for criminal charges.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 12, 2020.