(Smashing objects clearly audible in this low light Facebook video of the scene taken at an undetermined point Saturday)
The Ontario Provincial Police is investigating a riot that left the first floor of the Pikangikum First Nation police detachment trashed and destroyed three police vehicles on Saturday.
OPP Sgt. Peter Leon said about 200 people surrounded the Pikangikum First Nation police detachment and entered the first floor of the building, trapping three police officers—two OPP and one from the Pikangikum police—who fled to the second floor of the building which has living quarters and a kitchen.
The crowd threw rocks at the building before entering the detachment where people trashed equipment and sprayed the contents of a fire extinguisher, said Leon. The crowd also damaged the three police vehicles beyond repair, he said.
Leon said the crowed was calmed by community members who then allowed OPP officers who came in from Red Lake, Ont., to secure the area.
A fly-in First Nation, Pikangikum sits about 100 kilometres north of Red Lake.
Leon said the riot was sparked by an early morning incident Saturday between a Pikangikum First Nation police officer and a community member. The police officer had stopped the driver of an ATV on suspicion he was drinking and driving. As the officer tried to arrest the driver a community member intervened. The confrontation led the officer to fire his Taser to subdue the community member, said Leon.
“It is concerning. The OPP treats matters involving officer safety seriously,” he said. “An appropriate measure response was coordinated. We are very grateful we had some individuals in the community that did step forward before the arrival of the OPP.”
Leon said no police weapons were taken and the crowd did not grab any police files or reports. No fires were set during the incident, he said.
Pikangikum has a stormy relationship with police, twice evicting the police department from the community in the past.
The Pikangikum police operates under the OPP’s Aboriginal policing program.