Arctic Bay man testifies RCMP officer threatened him
Testimony continues on second day of Const. Luke Tomkinson’s assault trial
On the second day of Const. Luke Tomkinson’s trial, the man who accused the RCMP officer of pointing a stun gun at him denied threatening officers and said it was the police who threatened him.
Tomkinson is charged with assault with a weapon and uttering threats, stemming from a Feb. 15, 2020, incident in Arctic Bay. His trial started Tuesday in Iqaluit.
Tomkinson is alleged to have pointed a stun gun — a non-lethal weapon police use to temporarily immobilize suspects using a jolt of electricity — at Andrew Muckpa, saying he would “get [Muckpa] right in the [expletive] face,” as he and another officer were arresting another man.
Tomkinson has pleaded not guilty to the charges and remains an active member of the service.
Muckpa, 50, testified Wednesday about his experience on the day of the incident, which took place at his home.
That morning, Muckpa said he was woken by the cries of a young woman he knew as his daughter’s best friend. She told him she had alerted police that she was trying to overdose as a suicide attempt.
Shortly after, Muckpa said, he let in two police officers who were knocking at the door — Tomkinson and Const. Jesse Byer — so they could attend to the woman and take her to the health centre.
Muckpa said he knew Byer but not the other officer.
Muckpa said Byer recognized Muckpa’s nephew, Ivan Oyoukuluk, who had been living there at the time, and arrested him. Oyoukuluk was charged with several drug-related offences but those charges were later stayed.
During the arrest, which was partially filmed by his son, Muckpa said he remained seated on his couch but was angrily shouting at the officers because of the force they were using on Oyoukuluk.
The arrest video, which was posted on Facebook and analyzed on a screen in court, appears to show a scuffle between the officers and Oyoukuluk as they were trying to subdue him.
Muckpa is not visible in the videos, but can be heard yelling at the officers in Inuktitut and at one point cursing at them.
Muckpa acknowledged he was angry and verbally explicit to the officers during the arrest, but denied being a physical threat to either of them.
He said he had not consumed alcohol that day or the day before, but he and two of his adult children had smoked some cannabis the previous night.
Muckpa admitted that he said “I’ll kill you” during the interaction, but maintained he only said it only once, after Tomkinson appears to have already pulled out his stun gun based on the video evidence.
“I didn’t mean to say that, but I said it,” Muckpa testified.
“I was feeling threatened and scared.”
On cross-examination, defence lawyer David Butcher asked Muckpa about his past criminal record which includes convictions for drug possession, pointing a firearm, and four separate assaults, from 1996 to 2021.
Muckpa said he has had anger issues in the past that resulted in him getting arrested.
Butcher scrutinized Muckpa’s recounting of the incident, alleging that Muckpa had said “I’ll kill you” more than once, and that he had moved in a way that Tomkinson could have seen him as being threatening.
Muckpa said he does not have a full recollection of the police encounter, but was firm in denying that he was threatening.
“I stayed on the couch, I didn’t want to cause trouble,” he said.
Wednesday’s proceedings ended with the introduction of Crown witness Cpl. Jesse Gawne.
Gawne, an RCMP use-of-force expert, provided background on what he called the Mounties’ incident management-intervention model for assessing threats in situations, as well as some information about stun gun usage.
The trial, which is scheduled to run for two weeks, is set to continue Thursday with a continuation of Gawne’s testimony.
A use-of-force expert for the defence is also expected to testify.