Over the past couple of weeks, discussions and demonstrations regarding racism have been taking place around the world. Speaking out about the issue, Alberta RCMP Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki talked at a conference on Tuesday, June 9. He said that he doesn't believe there is any systemic racism through Canadian or Albertan policing.
In a clip obtained by CBC News, the Deputy discussed his views on systemic racism and whether it applies to the police. First, he said that the situation in Canada is different from that in the United States.
Then he said, "I don't believe that racism is systemic through Canadian policing. I don't think it's systemic through policing in Alberta."
He goes to say that everyone can acknowledge that racism is still prevalent in "all aspects of our society", including our institutions and our policing services.
"It can be prevalent in pockets," said Zablocki.
He said that racism is not tolerated and that the RCMP continues to work with its partners to identify ways to eliminate it.
According to the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre, systemic racism refers to the "policies and practices entrenched in established institutions, which result in the exclusion or promotion of designated groups."
The research centre added that systemic racism is not necessarily obvious and it doesn't require individual motive.
A couple of incidents involving various members of Alberta law enforcement have come to light recently.
A 2018 arrest video has emerged in which an Edmonton Police officer is seen kneeling on a black man's neck while taking him into custody. The wife of the man getting arrested told Naricty that her husband's arrest shows that racism exists in Canada too.
Additionally, an Indigenous Chief was reportedly beaten by Wood Buffalo RCMP over an expired license plate.
The Chief told CBC News that he doesn't think he would have been subjected to the assault had he not been Indigenous.
This particular assault prompted Trudeau to assert in a press conference that he is pushing for changes within the RCMP body.
The Prime Minister himself has admitted that many people of colour may feel "fear and anxiety" at seeing law enforcement due to the systemic racism in this country.
In a statement posted on the RCMP newsroom on Thursday, June 4, Curtis Zablocki had said, "I have, along with our employees, witnessed instances of injustice and inappropriate behaviour that police officers have taken part in across Alberta and Canada."
He said that he expects his employees to demonstrate care and sensitivity, and exercise judgment with honesty, integrity and professionalism.