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Indigenous woman left with concussion after RCMP arrest in northern Saskatchewan

Emily Kammermayer, 20, as shown in this handout image, says a visit to the La Ronge Health Centre last month led to her being placed under arrest by RCMP officers and hit repeatedly. The Canadian Press / HO-Emily Kammermayer

An RCMP professional responsibility unit is investigating a complaint after an Indigenous woman says she was tackled and hit by officers at a hospital in northern Saskatchewan.

Emily Kammermayer said she took her two-year-old son to the La Ronge Health Centre last month in hopes of getting an X-ray done of his arm after he injured it about two weeks earlier.

Read more: FSIN raises concerns about treatment of elderly patients in Prince Albert hospital

She said she took him to the hospital on the advice of her mother, who is a nurse, and other nurse practitioners after it started to swell.

The 20-year-old member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band said she brought him to the emergency department because the clinic was closed and the nearest centre was a two-and-a-half hour drive to Prince Albert.

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Kammermayer said a doctor came into the examination room and, without assessing her son, told her the boy didn’t need to have an X-ray.

“I just basically yelled at him and I said, ‘I don’t need your opinion, I need you to run another X-ray,’” she said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.

“As he left the room I just … slammed the door behind him.”

Kammermayer doesn’t believe the door hit the physician, and said she got upset because she felt her son was denied proper medical care.

“I just felt really defeated and hurt and frustrated.”

Read more: Saskatchewan police oversight agency should be Indigenous-led: provincial justice minister

RCMP confirm that officers were called to the health centre about an alleged assault between a woman and a doctor that day at about 1 p.m.

“If there is an individual who is violent or threatening violence and staff fear for the safety of patients, other health-care workers or themselves, they would contact their local police service for support,” Saskatchewan Health Authority spokesman Doug Dahl said in a statement.

Kammermayer said she was waiting in the exam room when RCMP officers opened the door, and she lunged to grab her son who was running out.

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“All of a sudden I was being tackled,” she said, adding she was repeatedly punched in the head and thrown onto the ground.

“I was in shock and I was just like trying to squirm free, like I had no idea what was going on. One of the officers placed their knee on my neck and only after I stopped screaming did the officer remove his knee,” she said.

“I was really, really scared.”

Police confirm a physical altercation occurred while Kammermayer was being placed under arrest.

A spokesman said Kammermayer has been charged with offences such as assault on a police officer, obstructing police and assault with a weapon.

Kammermayer said she was told the weapon was the door she slammed.

She was eventually carried out of the room in a hog-tied position and transported to cells in the back of a truck, she said.

The arrest left her with a concussion and other injuries, said Kammermayer, who has sought medical treatment in Prince Albert.

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples said her experience is an example of the systemic racism and excessive force Indigenous Peoples face with RCMP and within health care.

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“It’s a classic move by the RCMP to over charge and under protect Indigenous Peoples,” vice-president Kim Beaudin said in a statement.

“No questions were asked to de-escalate the situation because she was Indigenous.”

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Kammermayer said the officer asked for her side of the story, things would have ended differently.

She said the encounter has left her with anxiety and she doesn’t feel comfortable seeing a doctor in La Ronge.

“I haven’t really been the same since then.”

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