Athabasca Chipewayan Chief Allan Adam is shown in a handout photo. The chief of a northern Alberta First Nation is calling for the government to investigate after he alleges RCMP assaulted him during an arrest that he says began over a simple matter of expired registration tags on his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Allan Adam MANDATORY CREDIT

Ministers concerned by brutality claims during Indigenous chief’s arrest

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam said he was the victim of police brutality

Canada’s public safety minister says the government will be paying close attention to the independent inquiry into allegations of racism and police brutality brought forward by a First Nations chief, while another minister called the chief’s account “deeply troubling.”

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who is a former Toronto police chief, says in a tweet that the government is “deeply concerned” by the allegations, which were made Saturday by Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam.

Adam told a news conference that he was beaten by RCMP officers and that his wife was manhandled in March when police stopped him for an expired licence plate outside a casino in Fort McMurray.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, an independent body which investigates deaths or injuries involving police, said later that day that it will investigate the incident.

Adam is facing charges of resisting arrest and assaulting police, and RCMP say the officers needed to use force during the arrest.

READ MORE: Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says in a tweet that he’s spoken twice with Adam this weekend, and that he was disturbed by what the chief told him.

“His description of the incident in Fort McMurray and the use of force on both his wife and him at the hands of the RCMP is deeply troubling,” Miller wrote.

News of the allegations and a photo that Adam released of himself with injuries he says he sustained during the incident have received widespread attention as anti-racism rallies continue to attract large crowds across the country.

“We are deeply concerned by the incident that took place in Fort McMurray. People across the country deserve answers,” Blair tweeted Sunday.

“There will be an independent investigation, which we will be following closely.”

Adam said a police vehicle pulled up behind his truck while he was moving a child seat at around 2 a.m. on March 10. He said he asked the officer why police were harassing him and told him who he was, and he said he told the officer he would raise the matter with his superior.

Adam said he made his way back into his truck where his wife was at the wheel, and that he told her that they weren’t allowed to go anywhere. He said she put the truck into drive, and then the officer began knocking on the window.

More officers arrived during an ensuing altercation, and Adam said one of the officers “just gave me a, what you would call in the wrestling world, a clothesline” and that he fought to maintain consciousness.

“Every time our people do wrong… (the RCMP) always seem to use excessive force and that has to stop … Enough is enough,” Adam told reporters Saturday.

Adam and his lawyer released two videos taken by bystanders of the incident. Police say they also have video, which has been viewed by Adam’s lawyer, but that the force isn’t releasing to the public.

Adam will appear in Wood Buffalo Provincial court on July 2.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the issue of systemic racism in policing is long-standing and needs addressing.

During his time as Toronto’s police chief, Blair would fight off calls for his resignation after hundreds of protesters were rounded up on Toronto’s streets during the G20 summit protests in 2010.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Policeracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Suspect in North Delta home invasion facing attempt murder charge

Blaine Robert Jackson, 37, of no fixed address, faces six charges in relation to this incident

Rooftop hatchlings ‘a nice addition’ to White Rock RCMP operations

Pair of seagull chicks hatched in ‘fenced playground’ on July 2

North Delta yoga studio’s Fridays at the Farm to benefit local animal sanctuary

The outdoor four-class series will benefit Perfect Pastures Animal Sanctuary in Ladner

Wanted Burnaby man arrested in White Rock

34-year-old facing 15 charges, including sexual assault

COVID-19: Update on the pandemic for Surrey, White Rock and beyond

JULY 10: Contactless donation drive in Surrey today, gradual restart gaining ground

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Police nab three impaired drivers in one night in Maple Ridge

Ridge Meadows RCMP served 80 impaired driving infractions in June

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Most Read