Former Nunavut RCMP detachment commander on trial for assault

The RCMP station in Sanirajak, Nunavut, in March of 2022.  (Jackie McKay/CBC - image credit)
The RCMP station in Sanirajak, Nunavut, in March of 2022. (Jackie McKay/CBC - image credit)

A judge-only trial began Tuesday for a former RCMP detachment commander in Nunavut who is charged with assaulting a Sanirajak man he had arrested.

Cpl. Ian Crowe, who was the detachment commander in Sanirajak at the time of the alleged assault, was originally charged in August 2021. The assault itself is alleged to have taken place on June 30, 2020.

On Tuesday, the Nunavut Court of Justice heard from Tyson Richard, an RCMP constable who was working with Crowe on the day in question, and who reported the alleged assault.

He testified that Crowe had to arrest the same man twice in one day, and tensions between the two had grown, with the man resisting arrest the second time.

When they got back to the station, the man refused to let go of a lighter and at one point fell to his knees. Richard testified Crowe grabbed the man's head and hit it against the gravel repeatedly, causing injuries to the man's face and eyes.

Crowe, who was the senior officer and was charged with writing the main report on the arrest, did not include the alleged assault in his report. Richard told the court he didn't report the assault right away either, because Crowe was his supervisor and would read the report.

He said he felt Crowe was "trying to hide" the assault.

Video clips shown in court showed Crowe and Richard bringing the alleged victim inside and leaving him in his cell, partially undressed and without a mattress, which the court heard was unusual.

Richard said he lost sleep over it and finally reported it 11 days later after a social interaction with Crowe left him upset.

Nunavut Justice Susan Charlesworth is hearing the case. The trial will resume Wednesday.