CBC News obtains RCMP C-IRG video of the arrests of Indigenous land defenders on Wet’suwet’en territory in November 2021

Published by Brent Patterson on

CBC News reports that it has obtained Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) video footage that shows the arrests at a blockade of work on the Coastal Gaslink fracked gas pipeline on November 19, 2021.

That police video can be seen at Police footage shows arrests at Wet’suwet’en blockade (Jackie McKay, reporter, CBC Indigenous).

Up until this point, the video available of the arrests was shot by documentary filmmaker Michael Toledano from inside the cabin raided by the C-IRG. Toledano was also arrested that day along with photojournalist Amber Bracken.

Video by Michael Toledano.

The three land defenders – Sleydo’ (Wet’suwet’en), Shaylynn Sampson (Gitxsan) and Corey Jocko (Mohawk) – were found guilty of criminal contempt of court by British Columbia (BC) Supreme Court Justice Michael Tammen on January 12 of this year.

An abuse of process hearing then took place on January 12-19 that alleges the C-IRG used excessive force and violated the Charter Rights of  the land defenders resisting the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

While C-IRG Silver Commander Superintendent James Elliott testified C-IRG officers would have had special training on Indigenous cultural sensitivity, an unidentified C-IRG officer could be heard in an audio recording made on the day of the arrests saying: “They all had the fuckin’ paint like, are you an orc?” This refers to the red handprints that honour missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Bronze Commander Inspector Glen Fishbook also testified that it would have been common practice to shoot gas canisters into the cabin to force the land defenders out. He then said: “Ultimately, with Superintendent Elliott, I decided not to because of the optics.” Once the door to the cabin was broken down with an axe and chainsaw the C-IRG found at the site, Corporal Sebastien Pilote pointed a 40mm projectile launcher at the land defenders.

More at Twelve concerning things we learned about the RCMP C-IRG during the first week of the abuse of process hearing.

Also on Instagram.

The abuse of process hearing is scheduled to resume on June 17-21.

Just prior to that, March 9 will mark the 12-month mark of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) systemic investigation of the C-IRG. The CRCC has previously stated in tries to complete their investigations within 12-18 months. The 18-month mark would fall on June 9, just a week before the hearing resumes.

We continue to follow this.


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