The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team will not investigate the actions of an officer during an arrest on a southern Alberta First Nation that involved the use of an implemented energy weapon, and that decision does not sit well with some residents in the area.
Mounties has also released still images collected during the event to provide additional context.
The RCMP has released a Watchguard video of a man armed with a metal pipe said to be suspected of Dylan Bird threatening a RCMP member during an arrest on November 23 in the Kainai Nation. (supplied: RCMP)
Blood Tribe members gathered in protest outside the RCMP branch in Cardston on Monday to seek answers about the arrest of 27-year-old Dylan Riley Bird.
“He’s epileptic, he was born with a piece of his skull missing, so he has a plate, I think he was scared, he was trying to protect himself. He did not know what was going on and he was scared , and he responded, ”said Birds uncle, Ronald Panther Bone.
Protest organizer Melissa Prairie Chicken said the event was drawing attention to police brutality.
“They should not do that. It’s bad,” she said. “Just because they have the authority does not mean they have the authority to strike at us.”
Bird walked down the street last week when an RCMP officer tried to arrest him for outstanding rulings accused of uttering threats, criminal harassment and mischief.
According to police, Bird was holding a metal pipe that he used to hit an officer when he was arrested, causing minor injuries.
That was when the officer used a led energy weapon on Bird twice and he was detained.
“Both the first and second deployments of the completed energy weapon failed to gain control of the subject,” Cardston told RCMP Sgt. Robert Wright in a video statement. “The officer called for assistance, and a nearby officer immediately came to the scene to assist with the suspect’s arrest.”
Bird, a member of the Kainai Nation, faces new charges related to:
- Two charges of assaulting a peace officer causing bodily harm;
- Assault on a peace officer;
- Obstruction; and.
- Failure to comply with a release order.
ASIRT initiated an investigation into the use of force, but the incident was considered to be outside the province’s police watchdog.
The RCMP is now conducting an internal review.
“The Alberta RCMP believes in fact-finding processes and it is important that the processes taken to assess the actions of everyone involved, including the police, are fair, transparent and sound,” Wright said.
But that process does not fit well with Blood Tribe members.
“We’ve been through this our whole lives, and it should stop. There should be protecting us, not brutalizing us,” Panther Bone said.
The group met at a local gas station before walking down Main Street to the RCMP branch. Blood Tribe members who took part in Monday’s protest say they are concerned about stereotypes. Panther Bone says he has experienced it on his own.
“They see a native do something bad, they automatically drive by, that’s how we all are. The native steals, that’s the way they think we are,” Panther Bone said.
Bird has been released from custody ahead of his planned December 13 court appearance in Cardston.
With files from CTV Lethbridge’s Karsen Marczuk