a man standing in front of a mountain: Bernard Naulalik, 27, has been in a Nunavut holding cell three times since 2014 when he was out-manned by larger officers and pummeled by fists, knees and boots, often while being restrained.

© Thomas Rohner Photograph
Bernard Naulalik, 27, has been in a Nunavut holding cell 3 times since 2014 when he was out-manned by bigger officers and pummeled by fists, knees and boots, usually whereas being restrained.

After a flurry of punches and a pointy kick from the 2 Mounties, Bernard Naulalik lies on the concrete flooring of jail cell No. 3. One officer removes Naulalik’s garments whereas the second pushes Naulalik’s face into the ground and kneels on his again. Naulalik’s fingers are restrained behind his again. A pool of blood spreads beside his face.

A Mountie lifts his hand from Naulalik’s head, closes his fist and throws a punch into the susceptible prisoner’s face.

Warning: Video accommodates violent content material.

This isn’t Naulalik’s first night time within the Iqaluit, Nunavut, RCMP detachment. He’s “well-known to police” and has been arrested extra occasions than he can rely. One night time when he was 13, blackout drunk and carrying a knife, Naulalik stated he discovered himself within the dwelling of one of many males who eight years earlier had set him on hearth.

It’s June 6, 2016. Naulalik, then 25, is carrying a jersey and sweatpants as one Mountie bears down on his head whereas wrenching Naulalik’s twisted wrist and straightened arm behind his again. The opposite officer strips Naulalik all the way down to his underwear, tank high and socks, then removes the sleeping mat from the concrete bench.

That is considered one of three incidents since 2014, all captured on jailhouse video, by which Naulalik results in a holding cell and outmanned by bigger officers, pummeled by fists, knees and boots, usually whereas he’s restrained.

He filed an official criticism after the primary incident. And when two extra jail cell beatings adopted, Naulalik got here to consider the RCMP in Iqaluit had focused him for talking out.

“They might’ve completed one thing higher to not use a lot power,” stated Naulalik, whose first language is Inuktitut.

Naulalik’s case is considered one of about 30 incidents by which Inuit allege they sustained accidents throughout their arrest or detention by the Nunavut RCMP, based on Nunavut’s authorized assist company. The company flagged the alleged pattern in extreme power in communications with the federal government and RCMP that the Star obtained by means of entry to info requests.

“Situations of extreme power by the RCMP … look like on the rise in Nunavut,” authorized assist warned in 2015.

Authorized assist attorneys, who interviewed shoppers in 25 communities, reported “seen accidents sustained throughout an arrest or subsequent detention,” and “a current pattern of listening to and witnessing seen accidents to our shoppers, allegedly by the RCMP,” the board’s chairperson Madeleine Redfern wrote to the justice minister in March 2015. Redfern can be Iqaluit’s mayor.

Redfern’s letter additionally addressed “concern of doable recrimination” amongst Inuit in small communities who complain formally.

Naulalik is decided to buck that pattern. “I need to converse out. This isn’t proper.”

The RCMP and the federal government of Nunavut declined interview requests and refused to touch upon Naulalik’s allegations or the contents of the movies. In written responses, each stated they don’t monitor extreme power complaints made in opposition to the Nunavut RCMP.

Not one of the officers concerned within the videotaped beatings responded to requests for remark. Two have been charged with unrelated offences, together with an allegation that one officer “did prowl at night time” on an Iqaluit property — although that cost was stayed by prosecutors.

For this story, the Star filed entry to info requests with the federal government of Nunavut, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and the RCMP. The Star additionally accessed data on the Nunavut Court docket of Justice for Naulalik and two of the officers concerned in his beatings.

July 19, 2014

In cell block video footage, Naulalik walks unaccompanied into cell No. Three and lies on a concrete bench. An officer enters and begins looking out Naulalik’s pockets. Naulalik pushes the officer’s hand away. The officer grabs Naulalik’s neck and forces him down. Naulalik wraps his leg round one of many officer’s legs, however is pushed onto a bench. The officer makes an attempt to get on high of Naulalik who wraps his arms across the officer’s thigh and flips him onto his again. Naulalik seems to push his shoulder into the officer’s chest and thrust a hand towards his face. A second officer enters the cell. As one officer restrains Naulalik’s legs, the opposite straddles Naulalik’s chest and delivers 5 punches to Naulalik’s head.

Afterwards, police charged Naulalik with assaulting an officer.

Naulalik’s lawyer, Tamara Fairchild, filed an software below the Constitution of Rights and Freedoms that alleged Naulalik endured merciless and weird punishment and that the assault cost was laid to cowl up the RCMP’s assault on Naulalik. By March 2015, prosecutors had stayed all prices in opposition to Naulalik however have refused to touch upon the explanations when requested by the Star.

On April 20, 2015, Naulalik lodged a criticism of extreme power in opposition to two officers within the 2014 incident. Nunavut RCMP employed the Ottawa Police Providers to research.

When the Nunavut RCMP investigates severe complaints, it hires an out of doors police company. There isn’t a oversight or involvement from nonpolice companies or people, and the surface power experiences on to the RCMP.

In different Canadian jurisdictions, akin to Ontario, civilian involvement within the investigation and oversight course of is taken into account finest follow because it supplies better accountability and transparency.

“It deeply issues me that one other police service is doing that evaluate. That will, in my opinion, erode any public confidence of their final findings,” the previous director of Ontario’s Particular Investigations Unit, Ian Scott, stated in December 2015 concerning the investigation into Naulalik’s 2014 beating.

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Ottawa police arrived in Iqaluit on Sept. 10, 2015 — almost 14 months after the incident — and submitted its report on Sept. 30, 2015. In November, the RCMP’s “V” Division, which serves Nunavut, issued a brief information launch: “The members concerned had been appearing throughout the scope of their duties.” It additionally stated the extent of power was acceptable to regulate an “aggressive and assaultive” prisoner.

5-year-old Bernard Naulalik knew you shouldn’t huff gasoline fumes. He stated as a lot to 2 11-year-old boys who requested if he wished to hitch them. One of many older boys then poured gasoline on Naulalik and set him on hearth. Each boys had been too younger to be charged.

“I used to be a pair doorways away from my grandmother’s place, and I ran there engulfed in flames,” Naulalik recalled. “My grandmother was doing dishes on the time. She used a giant bucket to show me off,” he stated, referring to the flames.I bear in mind I died for a pair minutes, they usually revived me.”

Naulalik stayed in Montreal for about two years for a sequence of pores and skin grafts and different surgical procedures. A few of his finest childhood reminiscences are from that point when he met different children on the youngsters’s hospital. When he returned dwelling, Naulalik stated he was bullied for not wanting like different Inuit youngsters.

In the present day, the burn scars on Naulalik’s face are solely noticeable up shut. The scars on his fingers are extra distinguished. He opens and closes his fingers repeatedly, explaining that he nonetheless wants surgical procedure to forestall the pores and skin from getting too tight.

“My grandma actually helped me rather a lot once I was going by means of my therapeutic progress,” Naulalik stated.

Naulalik’s grandmother grew up in an outpost camp on northern Baffin Island earlier than the Canadian authorities relocated most Inuit, a historically nomadic individuals, into the present-day Nunavut communities. That relocation started in earnest across the 1950s within the Baffin area.

“She would at all times give me recommendation. She was a loving and caring grandmother. A bit cussed, however that’s what I favored about her,” Naulalik stated, who nursed her in previous age till she died in 2016.

The burning incident performed a significant position in Naulalik’s life. Naulalik stated he often witnessed “wild” violence and was abused by others. He grew to become an alcoholic at 13 and started dealing marijuana.

Naulalik has had run-ins with police yearly since. His most severe conviction was for sexually assaulting a pal’s sister. He says he was drunk and doesn’t bear in mind the incident.

In line with the courtroom document, Naulalik served sooner or later in custody for the sexual assault. The Star requested particulars from the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and the RCMP, however neither offered any.

Regardless of his many confrontations, Naulalik stated police are doing their jobs after they arrest him.

“I most likely stated some phrases to make them mad … that had been like insufferable … however I don’t bear in mind any of these moments, once I’m so intoxicated.”

June 6, 2016

Iqaluit police arrested Naulalik after he allegedly walked right into a stranger’s dwelling, drunk, and tried to choose a combat.

Video footage from that night time reveals two officers lead Naulalik together with his fingers — not handcuffed — behind him into the cell. As Naulalik kneels, he turns his face and shoulders in the direction of one officer, Cst. Jeffrey Dillon. Dillon seems to throw a fast jab into Naulalik’s face. Naulalik wraps one hand round Dillon’s leg, and strikes his different hand towards Dillon’s different leg. This second would function prominently within the officers’ written model of occasions.

In his use-of-force report, Dillon stated he “felt the topic’s hand contact his gun holster.” This elevated the menace Naulalik posed to “demise grievous bodily hurt,” Dillon wrote.

The opposite arresting officer, Cst. Ryan Dawiskiba, used stronger language: “Cst. Dawiskiba noticed topic seize Cst. Dillon’s gun … and believed he was actively making an attempt to disarm Cst. Dillon.” Each officers reported that earlier than they entered the cell Naulalik had repeatedly threatened to combat them.

Naulalik stated he was too drunk to recollect if he reached for or touched Dillon’s holster. The video is unclear. It seems Naulalik wrapped his arms round Dillon’s legs after Dillon’s jab to Naulalik’s face.

Here’s what occurs subsequent as seen on the video: Dillon and Dawiskiba push Naulalik to the ground. Dillon throws and lands 9 punches to Naulalik’s head. In the meantime, Dawiskiba lifts his leg again two or three toes and kicks Naulalik within the higher physique or face — it’s unclear the place the kick lands. The altercation, throughout which the Mounties take away most of Naulalik’s clothes, lasts about three minutes. Throughout that point, Dawiskiba bounces together with his knee on Naulalik’s head, kneels there for a couple of minute, punches Naulalik within the face, stands on Naulalik’s head for about 28 seconds, together with a second the place he pushes his foot down on the prisoner’s face.

Blood smears the concrete flooring beneath Naulalik’s face. Different officers later took him to a hospital for therapy.

In his report, Dawiskiba accounted for one kick to the face, one punch to the face and stepping on Naulalik’s head. Dillon didn’t report the preliminary punch to Naulalik’s face, however as soon as Naulalik was on the bottom, Dillon reported, he utilized “exhausting punches to the face and head.”

On Dec. 5, 2016, Crown prosecutors withdrew the cost of assaulting an officer that had been laid in opposition to Naulalik. When ask by the Star why the cost had been withdrawn, the general public prosecutor’s workplace refused to elucidate.

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Dillon and Dawiskiba didn’t reply to requests for remark and RCMP headquarters stated, “The RCMP doesn’t make it a follow to place our members ahead to talk to any allegations made in opposition to them,” citing the Privateness Act.

In his nine-page report, Dillon described Naulalik as “threatening” and “combative.” Dillon had eliminated Naulalik’s handcuffs earlier than main him to the cells.

“Member warned topic that if he fights police, the police will combat again. It’s this member’s expertise with Inuit within the North that they should hear a direct consequence ought to they determine to observe by means of with their menace. Typically this prevents a combat,” Dillon reported.

“That’s racist,” Naulalik stated throughout a current interview.

Aluki Kotierk, the elected chief of Nunavut’s Inuit, agrees. Kotierk is president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the company that oversees the implementation of the Nunavut Land Claims Settlement and is successfully considered one of Nunavut’s two governments. The general public authorities is elected by all Nunavut residents, and the NTI is elected by Nunavut Inuit, who make up about 85 per cent of the inhabitants.

Dillon’s remark “makes me consider … the notion of non-Inuit in the direction of Inuit, that we’re one way or the other completely different or primitive,” stated Kotierk. She added that such racist feedback spotlight the necessity for cultural and sensitivity coaching.

Kotierk speaks from private expertise. In 2012, her uncle, Solomon Uyarasuk, died whereas in RCMP cells within the north Baffin group of Igloolik. A coroner’s inquest decided Uyarasuk died of asphyxiation after he was discovered hanging from his belt.

Dillon’s remark reminded Kotierk of what one officer testified on the inquest. The Toronto-based officer testified that earlier than he arrived in Nunavut, his solely coaching for policing within the North was recommendation from his profession adviser: “When intoxicated, (Inuit) develop into hostile and combative with out provocation,” based on the transcript.

In 2016, the inquest’s jury beneficial that police re-open the investigation into Uyarasuk’s demise “to fill in … lacking info.” That has not occurred.

The Qikiqtani Fact Fee’s analysis supplies a lot essential context to Naulalik’s many run-ins, she stated. The Qikiqtani Inuit Affiliation led an effort within the mid-2000s to “set the historic document straight,” about police and different federal authorities exercise within the japanese Arctic after the Second World Conflict, based on the fee’s web site.

The fee discovered that the RCMP helped the federal authorities exert its sovereignty in Canada’s North.

Many Inuit had been informed that federal household allowances can be withheld until youngsters attended residential faculties. And tons of, maybe 1000’s, of sled canine had been killed by the RCMP and different authorities, which was seen by many Inuit as an effort to rob them of their nomadic life-style, based on interviews performed by the reality fee.

Some RCMP members exploited their energy by partaking in sexual relationships — consensual and never — with Inuit ladies, based on testimony by Baffin-region Inuit.

“The concept that a policeman can be a pleasant individual in your neighbourhood is just not at all times there and I feel the truth is there’s nice ‘ilirasungniq,’ there’s a terrific concern or intimidation while you see an RCMP truck go by,” Kotierk stated.

In the present day, many Inuit use alcohol to numb the intergenerational trauma, Kotierk stated. And that trauma usually finds an outlet by means of violence when individuals’s self-control is lowered by alcohol.

“In Inuktitut I’d say ‘suuqaimma,’ no surprise, with the historical past that we’ve, I’m usually stunned that there’s no more violent outbursts … Once I see all of the social ills that Inuit face, I usually see them as a symptom of the very speedy colonialism that we’ve gone by means of.”

Dec. 4, 2016

Snow falls on an extended Arctic night time and the temperature sits round -20C.

Cst. Dawiskiba arrested Naulalik for allegedly being drunk at an Iqaluit grocery retailer. “Topic is well-known to police … usually fights and assaults members,” Dawiskiba wrote in his report.

The digicam in cell No. 3, mounted in a nook above the door, reveals a gray concrete flooring, cinder-block partitions painted white, and a chrome steel sink and bathroom. Two officers lead Naulalik, carrying black pants and a black winter coat, into the cell. Dawiskiba stated in his report that on the best way to the cell Naulalik threatened to combat the officers.

The 2 officers, Cst. Kevin Frechette-Masks and Dawiskiba, push Naulalik, in handcuffs, first to his knees after which face-first on the ground. They take away {the handcuffs}.

After one officer removes his socks, Naulalik kicks his heels up in the direction of his again. In his report, Dawiskiba interpreted this as Naulalik making an attempt to kick the officer although Naulalik didn’t make contact. Dawiskiba knees Naulalik 4 or 5 occasions within the head, lifting up his physique weight earlier than every strike.

In the course of the nine-minute battle to take away Naulalik’s clothes, the video reveals Dawiskiba kicking Naulalik twice at the back of the top and pepper spraying Naulalik instantly within the face. Dawiskiba delivers one physique punch and, after Naulalik seems to withstand, 4 to Naulalik’s head or neck space.

All through, Naulalik stays face-down on the ground with the officers on high of him. Principally, he lies immobile however at occasions squirms and tries to tug away.

Dawiskiba reported “dropping” his knee on Naulalik’s head as soon as and utilizing pepper spray, however not the a number of knees to Naulalik’s head, nor the kicks or punches to Naulalik’s head, nor the punch to Naulalik’s ribs.

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Officers charged Naulalik with obstructing an officer.

Naulalik stated one tooth fell out and two others had been chipped, although he was too drunk to recollect particulars clearly. The RCMP didn’t present medical therapy, Naulalik stated. Dawiskiba reported Naulalik had a bleeding lip after the incident.

Dawiskiba didn’t reply to requests for remark. The Star requested the RCMP for a remark from Frechette-Masks, and the police power refused.

Prosecutors stayed the cost. When requested by the Star, they as soon as once more wouldn’t say why.

Court docket data present Naulalik has confronted at the least 19 prices for the reason that starting of 2014. Twelve have been withdrawn or stayed by prosecutors. His seven convictions embrace three failures to adjust to a courtroom order, three violations of probation orders and one for trafficking marijuana.

Naulalik stated he filed two complaints in opposition to Iqaluit police in 2017, one for every of the 2016 incidents, with the Civilian Evaluate and Complaints Fee for the RCMP.

Even when a criticism is filed with the fee, it’s nonetheless the RCMP who investigates that criticism, based on the Fee’s web site.

The RCMP “V” Division informed the Star that each 2016 incidents are actually being investigated by the Calgary Police Service.

On June 5 of this yr, Naulalik filed a lawsuit in opposition to the RCMP and officers Dillon and Dawiskiba. Naulalik’s assertion of declare alleges the officers assaulted him throughout the June 2016 incident and, together with the RCMP and the Legal professional Normal of Canada, failed of their obligation to guard him from any “tortuous or wrongful” act whereas of their care. The go well with alleges $30,000 in damages plus lack of revenue and punitive and aggravated damages to be confirmed at trial. It additionally alleges he wanted stitches above his proper eye. A selfie Naulalik stated he took the day after the incident reveals him with recent stitches above his proper eye.

Within the Authorized Providers Board letter despatched to Nunavut’s justice minister in March 2015, Madeleine Redfern wrote she wouldn’t embrace particulars of alleged accidents sustained by authorized assist shoppers with a view to defend solicitor-client privilege and “to guard tactical litigation methods.”

“For each shopper that’s ready to proceed with formal civil motion … it’s our expertise that there are 5 shoppers who … don’t have any curiosity … as a consequence of concern of doable recrimination,” Redfern wrote.

The Justice Minister “might want to take steps to deal with these issues with management at ‘V’ Division,” to supervise “vital remedial motion by the RCMP management,” wrote Redfern.

In response, “V” Division Commanding Officer Michael Jeffrey wrote to the justice minister in April 2015: “The generality of the allegations made by the Authorized Providers Board makes it troublesome to establish issues that haven’t been delivered to our consideration.”

Jeffrey stated the allegations of a pattern usually are not supported by criticism statistics: In 2013, 19 complaints of every kind had been filed in opposition to the Nunavut RCMP and in 2014, 16 complaints.

When requested what steps had been taken to alleviate fears of submitting complaints in opposition to the police, the justice division stated, “The division is assured that any complaints about police conduct will probably be investigated totally.”

Officer experiences, obligatory when “exhausting” power is used, are despatched to RCMP headquarters the place they’re “analyzed for tendencies,” based on paperwork from the Nunavut authorities and the RCMP.

RCMP headquarters in Ottawa informed The Star, “No tendencies have been recognized.”

Neither the RCMP nor the Nunavut authorities monitor allegations of extreme power.

In line with courtroom paperwork, Cst. Dillon was charged in April 2017 on three counts: one rely of trespassing on Lurene Dillon’s property and two counts of uttering threats in opposition to one other RCMP officer. These prices had been stayed in August 2017.

Cst. Dawiskiba was convicted in 2014 of two offences below the Transportation of Harmful Items Act and fined $200. In line with courtroom data, Dawiskiba was charged by RCMP in Cornwall, Ont., for providing to move restricted items, together with small arms cartridges and aerosols.

Each males are nonetheless RCMP officers.

Naulalik continues to combat to get his life below management. Though he tends to alter jobs each few months, he usually works greater than 40 hours per week. Naulalik desires of transferring farther north on Baffin Island to Pangnirtung the place his uncle, a pastor, and his aunt encourage him to be a greater, sober individual.

In March, Naulalik, who’s now 27, stated he desires to be a greater father for his nine-year-old son. “I haven’t actually been there for a pair years.”

However it’s a tricky, and generally shedding, battle.

On June 4, Naulalik appeared in courtroom to face 10 prices stemming from two current alleged incidents. On April 10, police charged Naulalik with assaulting his brother with a weapon, two counts of assaulting police, two counts of resisting arrest and two counts of uttering demise threats to police. On Might 18, police charged Naulalik with one rely of possessing marijuana for trafficking, one rely of interfering with an officer and one rely of inflicting a public disturbance whereas drunk.

On August 8, the Star visited Naulalik in an Iqaluit jail, the Baffin Correctional Centre. Naulalik, arrested once more for breaking courtroom orders, is scheduled to subsequent seem in Nunavut courtroom on Aug. 14.

Thomas Rohner is a contract journalist based mostly in Iqaluit, Nunavut.He will be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @thomas_rohner


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