The mayor of Iqaluit is the latest Nunavut leader calling for RCMP officers to wear body cameras, after a video circulated on social media showing a police officer slamming into a man with a moving truck before arresting him.
RCMP in the northern territory confirmed on Tuesday that the incident occurred late Monday and the officer has been removed from the Kinngait community and placed on administrative duties.
Internal and independent external investigations into the incident have been ordered, the RCMP said in a news release.
In a statement posted to social media on Tuesday, Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell said he’ll be raising the issue of police body cameras at city council next week and seek his colleagues’ support on the issue.
“It is about the safety of everyone involved and with this addition to the uniform; (sic) we will help protect the service members and citizens at the same time,” he said.
Bell joins Pond Inlet MLA David Qamaniq, Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq and Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson in calls for the use of body cameras by police in the territory.
Qamaniq told The Canadian Press the behaviour displayed in the video shows the need for heightened monitoring.
The video footage shows a man — who was reported to be intoxicated, according to police — stumbling on a road before a pick-up truck pulls up to him and strikes him with the open driver’s door, knocking him to the ground.
On Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland was asked about the video and whether the federal government is considering mandating the RCMP to wear body cameras.
Freeland said she couldn’t comment on the video specifically because she hadn’t seen it.
“Any instance of police brutality or mistreatment of Canadians is completely unacceptable,” she said. “I think our country is today particularly aware of and concerned about racist behaviour by police officers and it’s right for us to be concerned about that, and that of course is entirely unacceptable by any police force in Canada, very much including the RCMP.”
“I do think that this is a moment that all of us in our country need to reflect on both what we are doing and specific measures and steps we can take to fight racism.”
Global News has reached out to the RCMP division in Nunavut for comment on the calls to wear body cameras and for further details about the man who was hit and the arresting police officer. This story will be updated if a response is received.
Nunavut’s justice minister also issued a statement on the incident in Kinngait, saying she expressed her “frustration and outrage” to the commanding officer for the RCMP’s division in Nunavut.
“I have seen the video from Kinngait circulating on social media and am very concerned by the unnecessary force, the violence and the lack of respect I have seen,” Justice Minister Jeannie Ehaloak said on Tuesday.
“Nunavummiut should not fear this kind of treatment and disregard for safety and basic rights.”
Ehaloak said she will formally request a review of the incident by the Civil Review Complaints Commission once the external investigation ordered by RCMP is complete.
–With a file from The Canadian Press
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