Alberta RCMP investigating arrest of Indigenous man in December

Raelynn Fisher of Fishing Lake Métis Settlement stopped in Elk Point, Alta. with her family for a bite to eat. That’s when she noticed an RCMP officer confronting a man.

She told APTN News that she had a feeling that something was going to happen – so she recorded the confrontation on her phone.

“You see it on the news quite a bit,” she said. “The issues about how police officers handle the arrests of Indigenous people. And I’m just grateful that I happened to record it, so hopefully some justice can be brought to [the man].

The video, taken on Dec. 21 in the small community 225 km east of Edmonton, shows a single RCMP officer throwing down an Indigenous man who is in handcuffs. You can see the man’s face hit the concrete and he goes limp for 10 seconds before being picked up by the officer.

Jim White, a 30-year Métis veteran of the Edmonton police force, said this isn’t proper protocol for an officer to take down someone who is already in handcuffs.

“He didn’t seem to be steady on his feet,” White told APTN as he watched the video. “And when he was grabbed in the back like that, spun, and basically spun from one side of the police vehicle to the other and face slammed him into the concrete.

“That in itself is totally contrary to the direction given by the law enforcement review board.”

White said there needs to be action taken against officers who go against safety policies.

“You can deal with a person when you have them handcuffed, he was defenseless. He couldn’t protect himself on the fall. He couldn’t break the fall. The police officer didn’t appear to be in any danger whatsoever,” said White.

“I think it was an old man versus a young man. And the old man was handcuffed and the young man had the upper hand.”

APTN spoke to the man who was taken down and he doesn’t want his identity to be made public. He did share photos of his face with cuts and bruises.

In a statement to APTN in December, Cst. Kelsey Davidge of the Alberta RCMP said that officials were aware of the video and that there was an ongoing investigation of the incident and if criminal wrongdoing is suspected, a “statutory investigation will be launched immediately.”

When contacted again, the RCMP said there was no update to its “internal investigation.”

The man was later charged with assault on an individual, uttering threats and resisting arrest.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, or ASIRT, is responsible for investigating police interactions with the public. ASIRT only gets involved when notified by a police agency.

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