Charges against First Nation chief dropped

This March 10 photo shows the bloodied face of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam after a confrontation with Royal Canadian Mounted Police. (Allan Adam/The Canadian Press via AP)

The Associated Press

'My wife and I know we didn't do anything wrong,' says Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

Rob Gillies
Associated Press 

TORONTO — Charges against Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam were dropped Wednesday at a hearing that followed the release of police dashcam video that showed an officer tackling and punching him. 

Alberta Justice spokeswoman Carla Jones said in a statement the prosecution reassessed the available evidence and withdrew the charges of resisting arrest and assaulting a peace officer against Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

The action came at a provincial court hearing in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

(Previous: Video of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation chief's arrest 'shocking,' Trudeau says)

Royal Canadian Mounted Police dashcam footage showing Adam's arrest, made public as part of a defense application to drop the charges, caused widespread public outrage and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it "shocking."

The 12-minute video shows an officer charging at Adam with his arm and elbow up and tackling him to the ground. It also shows the officer punching him in the head.

"My wife and I know we didn't do anything wrong," Adam said. "It was just for an expired license plate. I don't know the reason why it had to escalate."

In this May 30, 2014 file photo, Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation speaks during a news conference in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says police dashcam video of the violent arrest of Adam is shocking and not an isolated incident. The arrest has received attention in Canada as a backlash against racism grows in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee to his neck. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)
In this May 30, 2014, photo, Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation speaks during a news conference in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

Photos show Adam was left bloodied, with his face swollen. Alberta's police watchdog agency is investigating and Trudeau said the independent investigation must be transparent.

"If I ask them to be charged or fired, what would that accomplish?" Adam said, saying he wants to see broader reforms: "Make changes that are necessary."

Adam in the past has spoken out about excessive force and racism. He has noted that although aboriginal people represent 5 percent of Canada's population, they make up to 30 percent of the prison population.

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