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The Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) released a scathing critique of the RCMP’s conduct on Friday.

A still image from a June 1 video shot by a resident in Kinngait. The video shows a police officer knocking down an intoxicated young man by striking him with the door of a moving police truck and then five officers forcefully subdue the man. The officer on the left appears to deliver a blow by knee to the downed individual.

The regional Inuit association condemned Kinngait RCMP for the rough manner in which they arrested an intoxicated young Inuk man on June 1 but also for failing to protect him once he was lodged in a jail cell, where he was allegedly attacked by another prisoner.

“To date, only one of the five officers depicted in the video is being investigated. Furthermore, the RCMP are only investigating the man accused in the beating during custody, not the RCMP in charge,” a QIA news release reads.

The statement calls for an end to systemic violence at the hands of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

“In the wake of Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the United States and Canada sparked by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police, we have seen disturbingly similar conducts from our own police forces in Canada,” the news release reads.

The QIA also pointed out that there have been no fewer than 15 deaths in Nunavut involving the RCMP since 1999, and five incidents in the territory have been turned over to Ottawa Police Service for investigation since the beginning of this year. The Inuit organization added that an independent civilian oversight body is needed, an idea that Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated has also endorsed.

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The news release then poses these questions: “These incidents beg the question, is the police the right body to respond to issues of crisis in our communities? Is the police force the best institution to address crisis incidents where mental health and substance abuse are at play?”

 

Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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