Video footage of a Canadian indigenous chief being arrested has been described by the country”s prime minister as shocking.
The film, shot on March 10, shows Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief, Allan Adam, being repeatedly punched by an officer.
The images prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to say on Friday that indigenous people don’t feel safe around police.
“Like many people, I have serious questions about what happened,” Trudeau said. “The independent investigation must be transparent and be carried out so that we get answers.”
Systemic racism in policing
The video shows a different officer approaching Adam’s truck outside a casino in Fort McMurray, Alberta, early on the morning of March 10. Police have said Adam’s truck had expired plates.
The video shows Adam getting in and out of the vehicle, removing his coat and taking a karate-like stance and using expletives as he complains about being harassed by police.
His wife and niece can be seen getting in between him and the officer at times.
Adam’s lawyer, Brian Beresh, has filed a court motion to have criminal charges dropped over violation of Adam’s constitutional rights.
As in other parts of the world, the killing in the US of George Floyd has prompted demonstrations in Canada over the issue of policing and race.
Trudeau said the issue of systemic racism in policing is longstanding and needs addressing.