Climate activist Greta Thunberg has voiced her support for Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam after video showing his arrest by RCMP was released to the public, calling it “very disturbing to see.”
Thunberg noted she met with Adam when she travelled to Fort McMurray, Alta., last year to visit with leaders of the Mikisew Cree First Nation and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation along with a BBC documentary crew.
“I’m shocked by this shameful abuse by the RCMP,” Thunberg said in the tweet posted early Saturday morning.
Adam was arrested outside a casino in Fort McMurray early on the morning of March 10. The events were caught on an RCMP dashcam video.
The nearly 12-minute video shows two people, one of them Adam, getting in and out of the vehicle, using expletives, as he complains about being harassed by police.
According to the RCMP, the incident transpired over Adam’s truck, which had expired licence plates.
The video shows the situation escalating when a second officer arrives. The officer charges at Adam, tackles him to the ground and punches him in the head.
Adam was left bloodied. He was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.
Adam told reporters at a news conference last Saturday that he felt the need to speak up about the situation because he wanted to shed light on what racialized Canadians face during arrests.
Wood Buffalo RCMP have said Adam resisted during the arrest and that officers were “required to use force.”
The force said the officers’ actions were reasonable and did not meet the threshold for an investigation. However, Alberta’s police watchdog agency has launched an investigation.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday said the video raised “serious questions” about the officers’ conduct and what happened that night.
“We must get to the bottom of this,” Trudeau said during his daily briefing in Ottawa.
During her visit to Fort McMurray in October, Thunberg talked with Adam and other Indigenous leaders about climate change and the impact of the Alberta oil industry on local First Nations for the documentary, which is focused on Thunberg’s activism.
Adam said at the time that his meeting wasn’t made public to prevent pro-oilsands protesters from disrupting it.
—With files from Rachael D’Amore and Allison Bench