Siksika man’s broken facial bones blamed on RCMP ‘abuse’
Christian Duckchief recovering from broken eye socket, fractured cheek bone and broken nose
By Meghan Grant, CBC News, April 5, 2016
RCMP making an arrest are alleged to have battered an Alberta First Nation man’s head, hauled him naked from his home and taken him to a detachment before realizing he needed an ambulance, say his family, who are accusing the police of racism and brutality.
Christian Duckchief, 23, is recovering from a broken eye socket, a fractured cheek bone, a fracture to the back of his head and a broken nose.
Duckchief and his wife say they were sleeping in their home on the Siksika First Nation southeast of Calgary Friday when RCMP from the Gleichen detachment entered their home around 6 a.m. to arrest him.
“I can hear him screaming for me, and I can hear him saying ‘Stop, Honey help me,'” said Duckchief’s wife, Chantel Stonechild, who said she was taken out of the home as her husband was still being beaten.
They acknowledge Duckchief struggled at first, saying he was on his stomach when woken and didn’t know it was police. But they allege an RCMP officer hit him at least 20 times after he stopped struggling and shouted that he wasn’t resisting, even as he lay handcuffed on the floor.
Duckchief — who has been charged in connection with the incident — and his lawyer said the force used by the officer was excessive.
RCMP say the case is under investigation and couldn’t speak about the allegation.
“There is a formal process available to people who feel they’ve been mistreated by the RCMP,” said Cpl. Sharon Franks.
At this point, Franks said, no complaint has been filed by the family.
That is a step his lawyer, Dale Fedorchuk, said he is urging his client to take.
“Given the nature of the injuries suffered by Mr. Duckchief, and the extent of the injuries he suffered, I think this matter needs to be investigated.”
The aboriginal couple — and many who have commented on Facebook photos of Duckchief’s injuries — believe they are the victims of racism.
They suspect the arrest occurred either because a friend had visited them the night before in a stolen vehicle or that RCMP wrongly believed Duckchief was still under a bail condition that he not be in the home with his wife.
“I was screaming for my kids, I thought they were people breaking into my house,” said Stonechild. “That cop was already grabbing his arm before he woke up.”
‘More than 20 times, that cop hit him’
Duckchief said he struggled at first because he thought someone had broken into their home and was attacking them.
Duckchief, who was initially on his stomach, bit the officer’s finger.
That’s when the beating began, according to Stonechild, but she said that as soon as the officer said “Stop resisting arrest,” her husband realized what was happening and complied.
“Christian said, ‘I’m not resisting, I’m not resisting,’ and the cop started elbowing him in the face,” said Stonechild. “More than 20 times that cop hit him on the face while he was on the ground.”
Even while he was on the ground, handcuffed and not resisting, the elbows to the face continued, said Stonechild.
Finally, RCMP brought Duckchief outside, naked, and took him to the detachment, but police soon realized he needed medical attention, and an ambulance was called to take him to the local hospital, according to Fedorchuk, Duckchief’s lawyer.
After X-rays, he was transferred to Calgary’s Peter Lougheed Hospital where he had surgery on his eye. Fedorchuk visited him over the weekend.
“Frankly I was appalled,” said Fedorchuk. “No Canadian citizen should suffer abuse at the hands of a police officer ever.”
Duckchief is known to police, and Fedorchuk suspects this could be why police entered the home in the first place. Duckchief has assault charges before the courts and his release initially included the condition he not live in the home with his wife.
But those conditions were amended, Fedorchuk said, and the restriction has been lifted since July.
Duckchief will appear in Drumheller court on Wednesday, and his lawyer will try to get him released on bail.
New charges of assaulting a peace officer, resisting arrest and breaching bail conditions were laid in connection to Friday’s incident.