The Alberta Crown will drop charges against Chief Allan Adam, whose arrest became controversial following the release of dashcam video showing an RCMP officer tackling him to the ground in March, CBC News has learned.
An unnamed RCMP source, who is not authorized to speak to the media, confirms that the Alberta Crown decided to drop the charges against the northern Alberta First Nations chief because they were not in the public interest. Adam was accused of resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer.
Alberta’s top Crown prosecutor made the decision, the police source said, adding that the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation chief was worried he would have to resign if convicted.
Adam’s first court date is scheduled for later today. He is not expected to appear in person.
Adam’s case gained national attention after dashcam video of the March 10 arrest in Fort McMurray showed an arriving officer tackling Adam to the ground without warning, punching him in the head and putting him in a chokehold.
In the nearly 12-minute video obtained by CBC News, an agitated Adam repeatedly swears at the police officers, accuses the RCMP of harassing him and removes his jacket after RCMP pulled behind his idling truck outside the Boomtown Casino in Fort McMurray.
After more arguing, the video shows Adam getting back into the passenger seat. The officer is seen pushing a woman against the truck and yanking her by the shoulder as she shouts, “Ow!”
“Hey! Leave my wife alone! You come for me,” Adam says, before swatting the officer’s hands away from the woman.
About seven minutes into the video, a second officer runs at Adam, grabs him by the neck and shoulders and tackles him to the ground.
“Don’t resist, sir!” the officer yells, as he straddles the chief. That officer can be seen punching Adam in the side of the head with one arm while holding him down with the other.
Laboured breathing heard
“My name is Chief Allan Adam,” Adam says as the two officers pin him down.
The officers eventually handcuff the chief, pull him up and lead him toward the cruiser. His face is bloodied. His laboured breathing can be heard inside the police vehicle toward the end of the video.
Adam’s lawyer Brian Beresh has dismissed claims that Adam escalated the situation. He said his client responded the way he did because he knows how police have treated Indigenous people.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the incident shocking and has called for an independent inquiry.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, the province’s police watchdog, is now investigating.