Northern Alberta chief accuses RCMP of assault

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam says Wood Buffalo RCMP officers beat and arrested him in a Fort McMurray parking lot earlier this year. 

In a news release Saturday, Adam alleges RCMP officers confronted him, his wife Freda Courtoreille and their niece as they were getting into their vehicle in the parking lot of Peter Pond Mall in downtown Fort McMurray on March 10, 2020. 

“The license plate tags on my truck had recently expired, and while the situation could have easily been resolved by simply reminding us to renew the tags and take a taxi home, officers used the occasion to beat and arrest me in front of family and a number of witnesses in the parking lot,” Adam said the written statement.

Adam provided a photograph of himself with a bruised and bloody face. He is calling for the federal government to investigate, and was expected to speak to media at a press conference Saturday morning.

RCMP said Saturday that the incident was captured on an in-car video system in the police, and that after a review by superiors, it was determined that the officers’ actions were “reasonable and did not meet the threshold for an external investigation.”

In an emailed statement, Wood Buffalo RCMP said officers initiated a traffic stop on an unoccupied and idling vehicle with an expired plate at about 2 a.m.

“Allan Adam was one of the occupants who returned to the vehicle at which point a confrontation occurred,” police wrote. “During the incident, Adam was being placed under arrest and resisted. The members were required to use force to effect the arrest.”

Police said Adam has been charged with one count each of resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer, and that he is scheduled to appear in Wood Buffalo provincial court on July 2.

Adam was re-elected as chief of the northern First Nation in October 2019. 

More to come…