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Violent arrest of First Nations chief in Alberta 'example of systemic racism that exists,' lawyer says

Last Updated Jun 12, 2020 at 12:47 pm PDT

RCMP dashcam footage shows the moments Fort Chipewyan Chief Allan was tackled and punched in the head during an arrest in March. (Obtained by CityNews)
Summary

12-minute video of First Nations chief tackled, punched by officer during arrest in Alberta is now public record

Fort Chipewyan leader was left bloodied after an agitated back-and-forth with the Mounties

Chief Allan Adam's lawyer says the arrest is evidence of systemic racism within the RCMP

FORT MCMURRAY – Video of a violent RCMP arrest of a First Nation leader in northern Alberta has gone public.

The RCMP dashcam footage, obtained by CityNews, shows the tense moments that unfolded the morning of March 10 when Chief Allan Adam was tackled by an RCMP officer and punched in the head after leaving a Fort McMurray casino with his wife.

Once Adam is tackled to the ground, the officer can be heard yelling at Adam to stop resisting.

The 12-minutes of video eventually shows Adam being led away in handcuffs, his face bloodied.

Content warning: The following video contains graphic language and images. Viewer discretion is advised.

The Fort Chipewyan chief is calling on the government to investigate the incident which started over expired registration tags on his truck.

He says the tags on his truck weren’t up-to-date, but instead of reminding him to renew them, he says the officers “used the occasion to beat and arrest” him.

The chief released a picture of himself that he says was taken after the arrest, showing him with a large bruise around his right eye and dried blood on his cheek.

Watch: Dashcam shows First Nations Chief being tackled during arrest

His lawyer, Brian Beresh, says his client hesitated to come forward.

“He waited for a long time,” Beresh says. “He was suffering from trauma and finally came forward. Because I think this is an example of the systemic racism that exists in North America. It can no longer be denied.”

In a statement, the RCMP says members were “required to use force to effect the arrest.” Alberta’s police watchdog agency is now investigating the incident.

Adam was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. He will appear in Wood Buffalo provincial court on July 2.

Beresh wants criminal charges stayed.