Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

RCMP in Nunavut are being accused of failing to protect an intoxicated Inuk man who was knocked down with a police vehicle and then placed in a cell where a fellow prisoner beat him so badly he had to be airlifted to a hospital.

A video taken by a bystander on Monday night in Kinngait shows a stumbling man being knocked down in the street by a truck that appeared be aiming for him with the open driver’s door, an incident that happened as protests roiled dozens of U.S. cities over the police killing of an unarmed Black man in Minneapolis. The Ottawa Police Service is investigating the officer who was behind the wheel of that truck at the request of Nunavut Chief Superintendent Amanda Jones. The victim was accused of public intoxication, but not charged.

What happened in the cell is described in a bail document obtained by The Globe and Mail. It was compiled by lead investigator Constable Cameron Smith for the man accused of aggravated assault in the incident in the cell.

Story continues below advertisement

Constable Smith said the victim was severely intoxicated and helpless. He was staggering about a small cell after midnight on Tuesday and accidentally made contact with the other man, who was in custody over an alleged domestic assault. The man is alleged to have punched and kicked him repeatedly in the head and face, and kicked and stomped him while he was on the floor, before putting him in a choke hold. Officers entered the cell – described in the document as “blood-covered” – to stop the assault and remove the man committing it. There is no indication how long the assault lasted.

The victim, whom The Globe is not identifying, was not taken immediately to a health centre, the document says; he was “eventually removed from cells when sober.” His right eye was swollen shut and he had heavy bruising around his orbital bone, and blood on or in his ear drum, according to nursing staff cited in the document. The Globe has been unable to reach him for comment.

Chief Supt. Jones told The Globe on Wednesday: “The matter of the cell incident is a separate matter to the matter involving the member and the police vehicle. Charges have been laid against the individual related to the cell incident. Both incidences are being investigated separately and are being dealt with separately.”

But the RCMP are investigating only the man accused in the beating, not the officers who were there, she said.

Benson Cowan, chief executive officer of the Legal Services Board for the northern territory of 39,000 people, said the RCMP had a duty to protect the man.

“When they’ve arrested someone and detained them and put them in a jail cell, they have complete and total control of that person’s physical integrity," he said in an interview. "They are under one of the highest obligations we have in common law [centuries-old Anglo-Canadian legal principles]. They are responsible for the protection of vulnerable people in these circumstances. Their obligation is complete and it is profound. They failed in that obligation completely with respect to this man.”

The RCMP in Nunavut made no mention of the beating in a news release on Tuesday that quoted Chief Supt. Jones on the investigations she ordered. And Chief Supt. Jones, responding to an e-mail from The Globe that same day about whether the man in the video had received medical attention, said only that a nurse had treated him in cells.

Story continues below advertisement

The police document said he was flown by air ambulance to hospital in Iqaluit.

The incident seen on the video is not the first time the RCMP conduct in Nunavut has been investigated. Its officers have been involved in three shootings, two of them fatal, since February. Ottawa police are investigating all of those incidents.

And a proposed class-action suit alleging RCMP abuse of aboriginal people in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon was filed two years ago. It has not been certified yet.

Mr. Cowan said a legal-aid lawyer visited the victim in Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit, and that he confirmed it was him in the video. Mr. Cowan described him as “just a kid, shy as hell,” and in his early 20s. “He’s been vomiting blood. His face is all puffed up.” He is expected to be released in a day or two, he said.

The man accused of assaulting him was released on bail, he said.

Mr. Cowan said the episode reflects what he calls the RCMP’s systematic disregard for the safety of Inuit people under arrest or in custody.

Story continues below advertisement

He said he doesn’t want to jump to conclusions about whether the chief superintendent knew about the beating and did not mention it, or had not been told. Either way, he said, “what we’re seeing in effect is an attempt to cover up a more systematic activity.” (Chief Supt. Jones declined to say anything further about what she knew, or respond to Mr. Cowan’s assertion of a cover-up.)

Mr. Cowan called for an independent investigation, and said if top managers of the RCMP in Nunavut knew of the beating, and did not make that information public in their response to the video, “I question how the senior officials responsible for this in Nunavut can stay in their current jobs."

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies