Video of indigenous chief's arrest 'shocking', says Canadian PM Justin Trudeau
The footage showed Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam being floored and repeatedly punched by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, turning a spotlight on systemic racism in the country's police force.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday called for an independent investigation after a "shocking" video showing the arrest of an indigenous chief by federal police.
The footage showed Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam being floored and repeatedly punched by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer, turning a spotlight on systemic racism in the country's police force. The confrontation took place in Fort McMurray, Alberta, on 10 March.
We've all now seen the shocking video of Chief Adam's arrest and we must get to the bottom of this," Trudeau told a daily briefing.
"Like many people I have serious questions about what happened," he said. "The independent investigation must be transparent and be carried out so that we get answers."
In the dashcam video, broadcast by several Canadian media, Adam has a heated exchange with a police officer outside a casino in the province of Alberta.
BREAKING NEWS: Dash-cam footage obtained by CTV News shows Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam getting tackled by Wood Buffalo RCMP officers, then punched in the head and put in a choke-hold. #cdnpoli #RCMP pic.twitter.com/NKJeapPzDN— Rosa Hwang (@journorosa) June 12, 2020
The tense situation degenerates quickly when the officer tries to handcuff Adam's wife, and a second officer is seen tackling Adam to the ground and punching him in the face.
Adam last weekend circulated images of his bruised and battered face following the arrest.
Canada indigenous chief Allan Adam battered during arrest
"We know that this is not an isolated incident," Trudeau said. "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."
Thousands of Canadians have marched in solidarity with US protesters against racism and police brutality, following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, during an arrest by Minneapolis police.
Trudeau himself took a knee, a popular protest gesture, last Friday at a demonstration outside his office in Ottawa.