Fort Simpson mayor says RCMP used excessive force in detaining her intoxicated brother
'I would have been humiliated just by how he was treated,' says Darlene Sibbeston
The mayor of Fort Simpson, N.W.T., has filed a complaint against the RCMP, alleging an officer was too aggressive when dealing with her intoxicated brother.
"It was humiliating. To me, I would have been humiliated just by how he was treated," said Darlene Sibbeston.
She didn't see the incident herself, but arrived minutes later to find her brother Darrell Sibbeston pinned to the ground by an RCMP officer, with a knee in his back.
"Part of his pants were, like they were falling down," she said.
"He was lying on his right side. His face was down and there was just blood covering his forehead, his eyes and around his nose. Around his head was a pool of blood."
Darlene Sibbeston is one of two community members who have filed complaints with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP about the incident last Friday.
'His face bounced off of the pavement'
Josanne Tanche was out driving with her young son just before 1 p.m. on Friday when she noticed the commotion outside the Northern Store and recreation centre. She slowed down and says an RCMP vehicle was parked on the road.
Tanche said the officer had Darrell Sibbeston against the back of the truck, his hand on the box of the vehicle.
"He lifted up his arm and looked to the right, to look back at the cop."
From the other lane, Tanche said she watched the officer push Sibbeston back against the truck.
"Darrell went to go move his head and his arm. That's when the cop kind of grabbed Darrell away from the truck and spun him around. The cop used his leg to trip Darrell, [he] fell face first.
"His face bounced off of the pavement … blood kind of went flying."
By this point, she said, a crowd of about 20 people had gathered, witnessing the events.
A shaken Tanche later made a complaint to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP.
"I felt sick to my stomach the rest of that day," she said.
Darlene Sibbeston also wants to know why the officer responded the way he did, saying "it's no big surprise" to see people walking down the street intoxicated in her community.
"He's an Aboriginal male who has gone through a hard time. His life story is more than just what happened on Friday."
'No need for that amount of excessive force'
She said her 47-year-old brother lives in Wrigley, N.W.T., and had been visiting Fort Simpson. She said he struggles with alcohol, lives alone and works when he can. He's usually "happy" when he's drinking, she said.
Court documents show Darrell Sibbeston has been convicted for assault five times in the last 10 years.
In an email response to CBC, RCMP say senior management are "aware" of the incident and an internal review has been started.
A media spokesperson said "RCMP have not received any formal complaints from any members of the community." It could take a few days before they are notified of any formal complaints made to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission.
In the meantime, Darlene Sibbeston, and other local Indigenous leaders plan to meet with RCMP members from Fort Simpson and Yellowknife later today to talk about the incident.
"I'm not saying all [RCMP] members are that aggressive," she said.
"We have had some very wonderful, beautiful people, members come to our community. They are supportive of our culture... and they appreciate the people."
But, she said, "There was no need for that amount of excessive force with my brother.
"If these officers could have some kind of training, one or two day workshop when they are being transferred to northern communities. They definitely need to know who these people are in the community."