After being beaten and marched naked through RCMP detachment, Siksika man sues Mounties

A man from a southern Alberta First Nation who says he was badly beaten by RCMP officers and marched naked through the local detachment is suing the police force for nearly $2 million.

Christian Duckchief suffered broken eye socket and broken nose during 2016 arrest

Photos of Christian Duckchief were taken by his family as he was recovering in hospital. Duckchief is suing the RCMP for nearly $2 million for injuries he says he suffered at the hands of two officers. (Facebook)

A man from a southern Alberta First Nation who says he was badly beaten by RCMP officers and marched naked through the local detachment is suing the police force for nearly $2 million.

Christian Duckchief and his wife, Chantel Stonechild — who live on the Siksika First Nation southeast of Calgary — filed a statement of claim on Thursday naming Const. Tyler Christian and Const. Constantin Hadjievangelou as well as the Attorney General of Canada as defendants. 

During the April 2016 "false arrest," Duckchief's nose and eye socket were broken after he was punched and elbowed in the face about 20 times, according to the lawsuit.

When Duckchief was released from hospital, the couple told CBC News they believed they were the victims of racism.

Duckchief's lawyer, Dale Fedorchuk, says he has possession of "detachment video which clearly shows Mr. Duckchief being escorted down the hall fully nude in front of a female employee."

None of the allegations contained in the statement of claim has been proven in court. 

The incident began around 6 a.m. on April 1, 2016, when the couple was sleeping in their home. The two officers knocked at their door "during a routine investigation that had nothing to do with the Plaintiffs," according to the lawsuit.

The sleeping couple's eight-year-old daughter answered the door.

Without a warrant, "pushing past the child" the child, the officers headed to the bedroom where Duckchief was naked and in a deep sleep.

Christian Duckchief, right, poses with Chantel Stonechild and one of their children. (Facebook)

"Without any lawful reason" the officers tried to handcuff Duckchief while he was sleeping but he woke up and began to defend himself, not realizing the two men who were getting physical with him were police officers. Duckchief bit Christian's finger but stopped resisting once he became aware the two were RCMP members, according to the statement of claim.

"The officers began to beat Duckchief with their fists and elbows as he lay helpless on the floor. Screams by Duckchief and Stonechild that he was 'not resisting' were ignored."

Duckchief says he was elbowed and punched about 20 times before he was handcuffed. After the restraints were in place, Christian drove his knee into Duckchief's face, the lawsuit claims. 

Duckchief was badly injured and still naked when he asked to put clothes on before he was taken to the RCMP detachment.

According to the statement of claim, the officers refused to allow Duckchief to get dressed and instead he was marched out of his home, naked in front of his children and wife, who were crying.

He was then taken to the Gleichen RCMP detachment "where he was humiliated by being marched nude through the police station, in front of everyone there, including officers, guards, detainees and civilian personnel of both genders."

After he was placed in a cell, the officers gave Duckchief a pair of underwear. About 30 minutes later, he was taken to hospital, where he underwent surgery on his broken nose and eye socket.

Although he was initially charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a peace officer, all charges were eventually stayed by the prosecution.

The lawsuit argues the officers were warrantless when they entered Duckchief's home, violating his charter rights to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure and his right to life, liberty and security of the person.

He was also deprived of his dignity and suffered serious injuries due to the officers' excessive use of force, according to the statement of claim. 

Duckchief suffers from PTSD and other issues, lawsuit says

Duckchief suffers from PTSD, sporadic memory loss, a deterioration of cognitive function and has trouble sleeping, according to the lawsuit, which seeks just over $1.9 million in damages. 

The family filed a formal complaint with RCMP last year but have heard nothing. They received a letter confirming the police force is looking into the matter.

A spokesperson for the RCMP said the organization could not comment on the lawsuit and is not aware of any formal complaint.

"As this matter is still before the courts, we are unable to discuss anything surrounding this file, to ensure a fair process at the trial," said Sgt. Jack Poitras. "At present, I am not aware of any formal complaint made by Mr. Duckchief."

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.