NEWS

Eetooloo Ejetsiak: Video shows Nunavut RCMP hitting naked prisoner

02/27/2015 05:13 EST | Updated 04/29/2015 05:59 EDT
CBC News has obtained a video shown in a Nunavut courtroom earlier this month that appears to show a police officer hitting a naked prisoner in the head in an RCMP cell.

Eetooloo Ejetsiak's lawyer entered the video as evidence in court earlier this month. The lawyer provided the video to CBC.

Ejetsiak was arrested in Iqaluit on Jan. 2 for causing a disturbance. RCMP placed him in the cell just after 8 p.m.

The nine-minute long video begins with Ejetsiak being thrown into the cell by RCMP officers, with his pants around his ankles. He paces alone for about four minutes. At one point he stuffs his pants into the toilet.

Ejetsiak removes his shirt and ties the sleeves around his neck. He sits. 

An officer with a Taser enters the cell, along with two other officers, who remove his clothing. As the officers begin to leave the cell, Ejetsiak gets up and starts walking towards them. One officer pushes him back, and Ejetsiak kicks at him.

The officer grabs him by the wrist and appears to hit him in the head. He pushes Ejetsiak back onto the bench, then to the floor. 

After the officers leave, Ejetsiak crouches on the floor, almost motionless, as a pool of what appears to be blood forms under his face.

A month later Ejetsiak's lawyers showed the video in court as part of his defence to plea for leniency on eight charges, most stemming from death threats Ejetsiak has made to judges, police officers, family members and others.

The Crown lawyer argued the video was taken out of context and that the use of force was appropriate.

The judge sided with the Crown, saying she would need to hear from the three officers involved to get the necessary context. She sentenced Ejetsiak to nearly three years in a federal prison.

In a statement Feb. 18, Nunavut RCMP said that while in custody, Ejetsiak removed some of his clothing and "clearly demonstrated that he was posing a risk to himself."

RCMP say officers removed Ejetsiak’s clothing to prevent him from harming himself. Ejetsiak then became agitated and "assaultive," resulting in a police use of force.

The Ottawa Police Service has been tasked with doing an external review of the incident.

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