A photo of Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam after his arrest at the hands of Royal Canadian Mounted Police shows him with a bloodied nose and swollen eye. CTV reporter Rosa Hwang said the arrest took place after Adam was stopped for an expired license plate tag.
According to CTV News, the Alberta First Nations chief was pulled over at 2 a.m. on March 10 as he was leaving a casino in Fort McMurray.
Video Shows Adam And Police In An Escalating Confrontation
A two-minute excerpt from the dashcam video, which was posted on Twitter, has gone viral and been viewed over two million times. The full 12-minute video shows Adam’s interaction with police escalating, especially after the officers touch Adam’s wife.
At the beginning of the video, Adam walks to the police cruiser and speaks to the driver before walking to his truck and then back to his cruiser. At one point, Adam is heard saying, “I’m tired of being harassed” and “F**king leave us alone.”
Eventually, he gets back in the truck.
When officers come to the driver’s side of the truck where Adam’s wife was sitting, Adam appears to become agitated and at around four minutes into the video, jumps out of the vehicle, takes off his jacket and begins marching towards officers; his wife quickly emerges from the driver’s seat to calm him down.
He gets back into the passenger seat of the vehicle as she walks around to speak to officers.
At around 4:55, the officer appears to twist the arm of Adam’s wife and once again, he jumps out from the passenger side door telling the officer “leave my wife alone” and posing into a fighting stance; Adam’s wife steps in between the two and another woman emerges from the rear passenger seat.
After words are exchanged, everyone except the police officers returns to their cars and the officer remains by the driver’s side.
At around 6:55, Adam steps out of the car and comes around to the back of the truck bed where one officer takes hold of his left arm while another officer runs at Adam full speed and tackles him to the ground.
Adam’s wife, who immediately jumps out of the car, and the other female passenger, appear to be pleading with police officers who are telling Adam, “Don’t resist.”
One officer stands and yells at both women to “Get back. Get back, get back to the car now.” At the same time, an officer can be seen straddling Adam and putting him in a chokehold for a short period.
“What the f**k is wrong with you guys?” Adam can be heard saying as he is on the ground. He is eventually pulled up and put in the back of the police vehicle, where he can be heard continuing to swear at officers.
Adam Was Charged With Resisting Arrest
Adam was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer after the incident, according to Radio-Canada.
The National Post reported that Adam has hired a lawyer, Brian Beresh, who wants the criminal charges against him stayed and who has accused police of infringing on Adam’s rights. He has called for all officers to wear body cameras and for the establishment of harsh penalties for anyone tampering with footage, according to Fort McMurray Today.
At a press conference, Adam said that he and his wife were told by police not to move the vehicle because it didn’t wasn’t registered, according to CTV News. However, he said he was held and punched by police without the ability to defend himself:
I looked up, and out of nowhere, the second officer who was the first officer on scene after he was called in, he just gave me a what you would call in the wrestling world a clothesline … It was just like a tag-team match where one officer holds me by the arm and the officer just comes and bridges me across the cheek and when I saw them coming I moved to the left, cause if I didn’t he would have bridged me on my nose and busted my nose.
The officers’ superior has said they did nothing wrong and RCMP Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki dismissed Adam and his lawyer’s allegations , saying, “I don’t believe that racism is systemic through Canadian policing. I don’t believe it’s systemic through policing in Alberta,” at a news conference in Edmonton, according to Radio-Canada.
In response to the release of the video, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “The events that have been brought to light over the past days highlight, without question, that there is systemic discrimination within our institutions and, including within the RCMP.”
In a statement, the RCMP said the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team would investigate the incident.