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Dash cam footage shows Canadian police officer tackling and punching an indigenous leader

Newly-released dashcam footage shows the moment an indigenous Canadian leader was tackled and punched by police during a confrontation in Alberta earlier this year. 

Chief Allan Adam of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation has claimed Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) beat him in March after they approached him over an expired license plate. 

The arrest has received attention in Canada as a backlash against racism grows worldwide in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee to his neck. 

In the 12-minute video, released as part of a court application to have his charges dropped, a police officer is seen charging at Adam with his arm and elbow up as he tackles him to the ground. It also shows the officer punching him in the head.

Adam had approached the police car parked behind him outside a Fort McMurray casino to complain of harassment. 

When the officer repeatedly orders him back to his truck, Adam warns that the two of them are going to have a problem.

 

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have released dashcam footage of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam’s violent arrest in March 

The 12-minute police video shows an officer charging at Adam with his arm and elbow up as he tackles him to the ground. It also shows the officer punching him in the head

The 12-minute police video shows an officer charging at Adam with his arm and elbow up as he tackles him to the ground. It also shows the officer punching him in the head

Photos show Adam's bruised and bloodied face after the March 10 incident. He was charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest

Photos show Adam’s bruised and bloodied face after the March 10 incident. He was charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest 

Later, Adam exits his truck swearing, removes his jacket and assumes a fighting stance. His wife and niece get in between him and the officer at times.

After he leaves the vehicle a final time, he is held by one officer while a second charges at him and tackles him to the ground. They are heard saying, ‘Don’t resist!’

One of the officers then punches him in the face. Adam is then cuffed and led away bleeding. He was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. 

Photos show Adam was left bloodied with his face swollen. Alberta’s police watchdog agency is investigating.  

Footage of the incident was publicly released after Adam’s lawyer, Brian Beresh, filed a court motion to have criminal charges dropped over violation of Adam’s constitutional rights. 

‘All of this resulted from an expired license plate tag. The video speaks for itself,’ Beresh said in a statement.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday called the video ‘shocking.’

‘I have serious questions about what happened,’ Trudeau said. ‘The independent investigation must be transparent and be carried out so that we get answers. 

‘At the same time, though, we also know that this is not an isolated incident. Far too many black Canadians and indigenous people do not feel safe around police. It’s unacceptable. And as governments, we have to change that.’

Adam had approached a police car parked behind him outside a Fort McMurray casino to complain of harassment before the incident turned violent

Adam had approached a police car parked behind him outside a Fort McMurray casino to complain of harassment before the incident turned violent 

Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation speaks during a news conference in Fort McMurray, Alberta in 2014

Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation speaks during a news conference in Fort McMurray, Alberta in 2014

Opposition Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he was troubled by the video.

‘It’s very difficult to watch,’ Scheer said. ‘I found it very troubling and very worrying. The events of the last few days and weeks have ignited a very important conversation about the use of excessive force.’

The RCMP said in a statement that the dashcam 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.’

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said she found the images in the video ‘incredibly disturbing.’

‘This is a moment in our country when we need to confront the really horrible reality that systemic racism exists here in Canada, anti-black racism exists in Canada, anti-indigenous racism exists in Canada. It is systemic,’ she said.

‘We need to acknowledge that, we need to confront that and we need to work really hard together to end that.’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday called the video 'shocking' and ordered an independent investigation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday called the video ‘shocking’ and ordered an independent investigation 

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, whose department oversees the RCMP, issued a statement saying Canadians deserve answers.

‘We have been clear that we will work with indigenous partners and communities as well as racialized Canadians to ensure that our agencies serve without bias and with a commitment to justice for everyone,’ he said.

The statement from the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation called for the officers involved to be punished and criminal charges brought.

Mark Mendelson, a former Toronto police detective, said the officer flying at Adam with his elbow and punching him on the ground was unnecessary and egregious. Mendelson also wondered why he was being arrested.

‘You can see him being verbally aggressive. My position is that if you can’t take somebody yelling and swearing and screaming at you, then you probably shouldn’t be a cop,’ he said.

Adam held a news conference last weekend to talk about excessive force and racism. He has noted that although aboriginal people represent five per cent of Canada’s population, they make up to 30 per cent of the prison population.

Trudeau has also said the issue of systemic racism in policing is longstanding and needs addressing.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk