No separate lockup for man beaten after arrest with police vehicle: Nunavut RCMP

No separate lockup for man beaten after arrest with police vehicle: Nunavut RCMP

IQALUIT, Nunavut — A man who was arrested by being knocked over by a police vehicle was later beaten by another prisoner in lockup because there was no room to house all inmates separately, say Nunavut RCMP.

The arrest drew widespread criticism when video released on social media showed the man, apparently intoxicated, was knocked down by an officer with the door of a slowly moving police pickup truck.

“When you have a racial divide between your police officers and the communities they serve, and a history of colonization, it’s not surprising that you see these kinds of issues arise,” said Benson Cowan, head of Nunavut’s legal aid society.

In a news release, Nunavut RCMP describe a busy Monday afternoon in Kinngait, formerly Cape Dorset, on the southern tip of Baffin Island.

Just before the arrest, the three on-duty officers were joined by two officers called out to help deal with an ongoing weapons complaint. When the man was brought back to the detachment’s four cells, he joined seven others, “all of whom were intoxicated,” the release says.

One cell held four men, another held an “extremely agitated” man while the other two held women who had been separated because they were fighting. One of the women was released to make room for the new prisoner.

However, he was joined later that night by a fresh arrestee as RCMP members continued to respond to a backlog of calls created by the weapons incident. A fight broke out.

Police said the guard immediately contacted officers, who returned to the lockup as soon as possible.

“Unfortunately the male in the video was injured as a result of the assault and later flown to Iqaluit for further medical treatment,” police said.

The second prisoner has been charged with aggravated assault. The man knocked over by the police vehicle was never charged with anything.

The arresting officer has been removed from the community and the arrest is under investigation.

“RCMP continue to work diligently to serve the community of Kinngait in managing the high volume of calls for service while balancing resources and demands placed on the members,” said Chief Supt. Amanda Jones, who commands Nunavut RCMP.

But Cowan said the initial apprehension points to wider issues.

“Anyone in Nunavut who has any dealings with the justice system knows that there are larger issues at stake,” he said. ”It is imperative that the governments of Nunavut, Canada, the RCMP and communities get together and have a serious conversation about the way policing services are delivered.”

Iqaluit lawyer Lori Idlout, who has a long background in social work, said police should already know what they have to do. Reports from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association are full of good ideas.

“The RCMP needs to stop ignoring the recommendations,” she said.

The force should bring back special constables, she said — local, trained people who work with RCMP in crime prevention.

“As difficult as it might be to be hopeful, I think we have to be,” she said.

Nunavut Justice Minister Jeannie Ehaloak said she was outraged by the arrest. A growing list of leaders want the force to put body cameras on its members.

RCMP in the North face at least two lawsuits over their treatment of Indigenous people. In January, the national organization of Inuit women released a report saying Indigenous northerners face “systemic racialized policing.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 4, 2020

— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow him on Twitter at @row1960

The Canadian Press

RCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bank of Canada set to make rate announcement, release economic outlook

OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada will make its latest interest rate… Continue reading

Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales rose 10.7 per cent in May

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales rose in May after posting… Continue reading

Virus resurgence forces countries to reimpose restrictions

PROMACHONAS, Greece — Countries around the world are reimposing lockdowns and implementing… Continue reading

Nearly 270,000 Conservatives eligible to vote in leadership contest

OTTAWA — The national Conservative party says it has 269,469 members eligible… Continue reading

COVID-19 isn’t like a war

The collective effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic has been called the… Continue reading

Michael Dawe: This isn’t the first summer Red Deer’s fair has been cancelled

Normally, today, July 15, would have been the start of the annual… Continue reading

If you visit Sylvan Lake, take your garbage home with you

This past weekend saw the invasion of our quiet town with people… Continue reading

The futility of hoping for justice persists in the Balkans

“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown,” says an old friend to Jack Nicholson… Continue reading

Three all-Canadian exhibition games part of NHL’s relaunch in Toronto, Edmonton

NEW YORK — The NHL has unveiled further details on the schedule… Continue reading

U.S. COVID-19 situation complicates Blue Jays’ plans to play at home: Njoo

OTTAWA — Canada’s deputy public health officer says the federal government would… Continue reading

Picasso portrait expected to fetch up to $1.6 million at Heffel online auction

TORONTO — A portrait by Pablo Picasso is among the artworks on… Continue reading

NHL says NBC would have been involved in restart, whether in Canada or US

TORONTO — The NHL is defending its decision to have an American… Continue reading

Most Read