Charges dropped against Aboriginal chief in violent arrest
TORONTO (AP) - Charges against a Canadian Aboriginal chief were dropped on Wednesday at a hearing that followed the release of a police dashcam video of an officer attacking and beating him.
Alberta Justice spokeswoman Carla Jones said in a statement that the prosecutor had reassessed the available evidence and withdrawn charges to oppose the arrest and attack a peace officer against Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.
The lawsuit was brought at a trial in Fort McMurray, Alberta.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police's dashcam material, which shows Adam's arrest and released as part of a defense motion to drop the charges, caused widespread public outrage, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it "shocking."
The 12-minute video shows an officer who attacks Adam with his arm and elbow raised and grabs him to the ground. It also shows the officer who hits him in the head.
"My wife and I know we didn't go wrong," said Adam. "It was only for an expired license plate. I don't know why it had to escalate. "
Photos show that Adam was bloody and his face was swollen. The Alberta Police Department investigated and Trudeau said the independent investigation must be transparent.
"If I ask them to be charged or released, what would that do?" Adam said he wanted to see broader reforms: "Make the necessary changes."
Adam has spoken about excessive violence and racism in the past. He found that while indigenous people make up 5% of the Canadian population, they make up up to 30% of the prison population.
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