RCMP investigating two alleged attacks on Dene man in Yellowknife

Dene

Benjamin Manuel alleges Yellowknife RCMP assaulted him on June 10, resulting in a black eye and boot print across the nose seen here. Photo: Charlotte Morritt-Jacobs/APTN

The RCMP in Yellowknife, N.W.T., say they are now involved in two investigations involving alleged attacks against Benjamin Manuel, a Dene man living in the city.

One of the allegations is directed at the RCMP.

What was first a single investigation of an alleged incident involving police on June 10, has expanded into a separate investigation of an assault on Manuel that took place the same evening.

Photos of Manuel with a battered face were widely shared on Facebook last week sparking outrage across the north and beyond.

Manuel, his girlfriend and his employer all allege a boot mark across his face came from a Yellowknife RCMP officer.

The group spoke with media outside of the RCMP detachment on June 12 ahead of a news conference that day.

Chief-Supt. Jamie Zettler, the commanding officer of the RCMP in N.W.T., confirmed that police were investigating the alleged assault by an RCMP officer.

In an email statement to APTN News, RCMP said a second investigation was launched involving Manuel.

“On June 13th, RCMP became aware of an incident during which it is believed the same victim is alleged to have been assaulted by other individuals, during the evening of June 10th,” said Marie York Condon, RCMP spokesperson.

Manuel said of the investigation, “Yesterday (June 17) police told me someone took pictures of a fight down at City Hall with me and then someone saw me going to Kim’s Confectionary where police picked me up in a truck and then left me without calling an ambulance.”

He said he doesn’t remember who was at City Hall.

“I don’t know what really happened, I’m just blinded, maybe I did get in a fight first, I can’t really recall. Police asked if I wanted to charge those two guys but I don’t know because they would have to go to jail.

“I don’t know why police left me there and threw me out of the vehicle.”

Manuel’s girlfriend told APTN on June 18 that an RCMP vehicle picked him up at the convenience store.

In a follow-up interview with APTN on June 18, Dorothy May Betsaka’s account of the event didn’t change.

She reiterated that she was with Manuel when he was behind Kim’s Confectionary and had seen RCMP drive off with Manuel in their truck and drop him back off at the store.

APTN asked if Manuel had marks on his face from a fight when they were at Kim’s Confectionary and she said no.

Local media outlet, Cabin Radio, reported multiple witnesses have provided signed statements to police stating they saw Manuel attacked by civilians outside of City Hall on the night of the alleged RCMP attack.

Video Journalist / Yellowknife

Charlotte joined APTN in January 2017 as a video journalist in Yellowknife, N.W.T.. Before coming to APTN she interned at CTV Lethbridge, earned her BA in feminist research from Western University and her obtained post-graduate in journalism at Humber College.