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Greta Thunberg calls video of Chief Allan Adam’s RCMP arrest ‘very disturbing to see’

Disturbing dashcam video shows violent arrest of First Nation chief
Alberta RCMP has released dashcam video that shows the violent arrest of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam over an expired license plate in March. As David Akin reports, the shocking 12-minute arrest is now at the heart of an investigation into whether excessive force was used.

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.”

READ MORE: Trudeau says video of Chief Allan Adam’s RCMP arrest raises ‘serious questions’

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.

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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.

READ MORE: Alberta RCMP dashcam video shows violent arrest of First Nation chief, moments leading up to it

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.

New video of Chief Allan Adam’s RCMP arrest released
New video of Chief Allan Adam’s RCMP arrest released

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.

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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.

READ MORE: ‘Enough is enough’: First Nations Chief says he needed to tell story of alleged RCMP beating

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.

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—With files from Rachael D’Amore and Allison Bench