Indigenous man in Canada shot dead by police prompts investigation

The incident comes after video footage of the violent arrest of indigenous chief Allan Adam caused outrage in Canada

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Authorities in eastern Canada's New Brunswick province have opened an investigation into the death of an indigenous man after he was shot by a police on Friday.

Officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were responding to a report of a knife-wielding individual near the small northern town of Miramichi.

According to still-unconfirmed reports cited by the BII, the man – a member of the Mi'kMaq First Nations tribe – charged at police. After attempts to subdue him with a Taser-type weapon failed, one officer fired his sidearm.

The 48-year-old man, who has not been identified, died later at a hospital, according to Quebec's Bureau of Independent Investigations (BII), which is leading the inquiry.

His death comes as US protests continue over the recent death of George Floyd in Minnesota after a white police officer knelt on the neck of the unarmed black man for almost nine minutes. The incident has sparked renewed debate over racism and police brutality across Canada and other countries around the world.

Last week, a 26-year-old indigenous woman Chantel Moore was shot dead by police officers in Canada who had been asked to check on her health.

Edmunston police said the officer had to defend himself when threatened by the woman wielding a knife – an allegation rejected by Moore's family.

The BII is investigating that case as well.

There have been growing complaints by First Nations groups of systemic violence by law enforcement against indigenous people.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for an independent investigation into a separate incident last week after a video showing the violent arrest of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam shocked Canadians.

The footage of Mr Adam being hurled to the ground and pummelled by an RCPM officer has highlighted racism in the country's police force.

Mr Trudeau called for the inquiry on Friday after seeing the "shocking" video of the violent arrest – which took place in western Alberta province last March.

"We've all now seen the shocking video of Chief Adam's arrest and we must get to the bottom of this," Mr Trudeau told a daily briefing.

"Like many people I have serious questions about what happened," he said. "The independent investigation must be transparent and be carried out so that we get answers."

In the dashcam video, broadcast by several Canadian media, Mr Adam has a heated exchange with a police officer outside a casino in Alberta.

The tense situation degenerates quickly when the officer tries to handcuff Mr Adam's wife, and a second officer is seen tackling Mr Adam to the ground and punching him in the face.

Mr Adam last weekend circulated images of his bruised and battered face following the arrest.

"We know that this is not an isolated incident," Mr Trudeau said. "Far too many black Canadians and indigenous people do not feel safe around police. It's unacceptable. And as governments, we have to change that."

After a week of denying it, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki on Friday reversed her position and acknowledged in a statement that "systemic racism is part of every institution, the RCMP included."