Indigenous Services minister sounds off on truck-door arrest in Nunavut

Minister: I saw what I saw

Federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller gave a short response when asked about an investigation that found an RCMP officer did not intentionally hit a young Inuk man with his truck door during an arrest in June.

"I saw what I saw," Miller told a news conference Wednesday.

A video of the arrest posted on social media showed a Mountie in Kinngait, Nunavut, knocking down an intoxicated man using the door of a police pickup. The Ottawa Police Service, which conducted a criminal investigation into the takedown, ruled the arrest was "lawful" and the officer hit the man with his truck unintentionally.

Back in June, Miller decried the improper tactic and called the incident "dehumanizing" and "disgraceful."

On Wednesday, Miller said there is a need to reform the RCMP and address systemic racism against Indigenous people in Canada.

"We will continue to hold those who serve and protect Canadians to account, making sure that we reform the RCMP," he said. "We do need to get to the bottom of these things. It further undermines the trust that, (in) Indigenous communities in particular, is still quite thin in respect to our police services."

Timoon Toonoo, Kinngait's mayor, told The Canadian Press he can't comment on the arrest until the RCMP's internal investigation is complete. The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP is also conducting an investigation.

Toonoo said the RCMP met with him on Tuesday to discuss the Ottawa Police Service report's findings, but he can't talk about it yet.

"They were saying that they could not charge the person who ran over the person because they do not find that person broke the law. We were on the line for a while and we talked about what happened and not much news came out of the meeting," Toonoo said.

Toonoo said he's tried to reach out to the man hit by the truck door in the video, but hasn't been able to reach him.

In a statement, Nunavut Justice Minister George Hickes said he also can't comment on the investigation, but said the arrest "was very unfortunate" and "I sincerely hope the individual struck by the vehicle is doing well."

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