Charges dropped against Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam

Warning: This post contains graphic details of the arrest of Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam that some people may find disturbing. 

Crown prosecutors dropped charges against Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam on Wednesday.

Adam was the victim of a violent arrest in March by members of the Wood Buffalo RCMP after police detained him for an expired license plate.

The case against Adam was in provincial court in Fort McMurray where charges of resisting arrest and assaulting a peace officer were withdrawn.

“The Crown reassessed the prosecution standard based on an examination of the available evidence including the disclosure of additional relevant material and withdrew the two charges,” Alberta Justice spokeswoman Carla Jones said in a statement.

“The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service has no comment on the actions of the police.”

Adam called on the country to address injustices and police brutality toward Indigenous people.

In a press conference, he referred to recommendations from the TRC including cross cultural police training and creating an Indigenous police force.

“We pay our dues to be protected. If we’re paying a police force to brutalize our people then maybe it’s time we look at another police force to police our people,” he said.

Adam’s lawyer, Brian Beresh said this case shines a spotlight on systemic racism that has gone unchecked for too long.

“The attorney general’s decision today validates chief Adam’s view that the RCMP charges were laid as a police shield to their aggressive and abusive conduct not a true belief that criminal activity had occurred,” said Beresh.

On Twitter National Chief Perry Bellegarde welcomes the withdrawn charges and stated ‘It’s clear racism is embedded within most public institutions, specifically police.’

Watch the video of Allan Adam’s arrest:

Video from RCMP dash-camera of Adam’s arrest was made public earlier this month as part of a court application to stay the charges.

The 12-minute video from March 10 shows a black truck idling outside the Boomtown Casino in downtown Fort McMurray in the glow of flashing police lights.

“Tell your sergeant, what the f— is her name… I’m tired of being harassed by the RCMP,” Adam can be heard saying.

The officer replies, “Sir, just return to your vehicle and I’ll come and talk to you in a minute.”

“OK, just f—ing leave us alone,” Adam said.

On June 5, Adam reported that he had been roughed up by the RCMP and that his wife was manhandled.

He showed photos of his bloodied and bruised face.

In the video, Adam walks back to the RCMP and exchanges words once again with the officer and is directed to go back to his vehicle.

“You and I are going to have a f—ing problem right here and right now,” he said.

The RCMP cruiser is parked behind Adam’s truck with its emergency lights on in the parking lot.

What seems to escalate the situation is when the officer tries to grab the arm of a woman who was inside the truck with Adam.

Words are spoken between the officer, who is standing on one side of the truck, and Adam who has moved to the passenger side.

About seven minutes into the video sirens can be heard approaching.

There is more arguing and Adam gets back into the passenger seat. The officer is seen pushing the woman against the truck and yanking her by the shoulder as she shouts “Ow!”

“Hey! Leave my wife alone! You come for me,” Adam says, before swatting the officer’s hands away from the woman.

Athabasca Chipewyan
Blood streams down Adam’s face as police arrest him in a screenshot from dash-cam footage from Mar. 10.

That’s when Adam exits the passenger side of the truck and walks to the back where the officer tries to grab his arm.

From there, another officer runs into the video shot and tackles Adam to the ground.

It appears Adam is pinned face-down during the struggle.

The officer strikes Adam with his right hand during the arrest.

It takes nearly three minutes to get Adam in handcuffs and up off the ground.

The chief’s face is bloodied as they lead him to the RCMP vehicle.

The RCMP initially stated that the officers’ actions were reasonable.

Read More: 

Politicians ‘alarmed’ and ‘concerned’ by alleged police assault on Athabasca Chipewyan chief 

APTN News: A look at policing Canada 

Politicians have demanded answers after the video was released.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “deeply alarmed” by the picture Adam shared of his bruised and swollen face.

Trudeau reiterated the need to “do more” to address systemic racism and police violence, saying he raised the issue in a call with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki.

Bill Blair, Canada’s public safety minister says the government will be paying close attention to the independent inquiry into these allegations.

“We are deeply concerned by the incident that took place in Fort McMurray. People across the country deserve answers,” Blair tweeted at the time.

“There will be an independent investigation, which we will be following closely.”

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is investigating the arrest.

With files from the Canadian Press 

Video Journalist / Calgary

Tamara is Métis from Winnipeg, Manitoba. She received a diploma in interactive media arts at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon and has worked as a videographer for CBC in Winnipeg and Iqaluit. Tamara was hired by APTN in 2016 as a camera/editor and is now a video journalist in our Calgary bureau.

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