Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Black and indigenous people in Canada do not feel safe around police after a video surfaced showing the violent arrest of Chief Allan Adam of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the Associated Press reported.The video surfaced in the midst of a global conversation on racial injustice sparked by protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Other officials also acknowledged Canada’s systemic racism against their indigenous population. Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for an independent, transparent investigation after dashcam video of the violent arrest of Chief Allan Adam of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation surfaced, local outlet City News reported. According to the Associated Press, following the video, Trudeau said that “Black and indigenous people in Canada do not feel safe around police.”The footage comes after weeks of protests in the US, and across the globe on racial injustice, after the death of George Floyd, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death ignited conversation across the world on racial inequality, police brutality, and excessive use of force.
In Canada, the 12-minute police video showed an officer tackling Adam to the ground and also punching him in the head, according to the AP. “I think everyone who has seen this video has serious questions about what exactly happened, about how it happened this way, and about the use of force that we saw,” Trudeau said of the video, according to City News. Police charged Adam with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. According to the AP, police said the plates on his truck were expired.Adam was left with a bloody face after the encounter at the Fort McMurray, Alberta, on March 10. The video however was released as part of a court application to get criminal charges against Adam removed.
City News reported that the Prime Minister said this isn’t an isolated incident in Canada.”It’s unacceptable and as governments we have to change that,” Trudeau said.The AP reported that while Canadian aboriginals only make up 5% of Canada’s population, they account for 30% of inmates in Canada’s prisons.Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland also said she found the video “incredibly disturbing,” according to the AP.
“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,” Freeland told the AP. In the video, Adam can be seen going in and out of his car and heard complaining about being harassed by the police. Mark Mendelson, a former Toronto police detective, told the AP that the officer’s aggressive behavior was “unnecessary and egregious.””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.
Curtis Zablocki, deputy commissioner for the Royal Canadia Mounted Police in Alberta also acknowledged that systemic racism does exist in the police force, the AP reported. Even the country’s conservative politicians and some police members condemned the video.”It’s very difficult to watch,” opposition Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer told the AP. “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.”