Dawsonite alleges police brutality

'Welcome, visitors to the police state of Dawson City." This is the slogan that should greet visitors coming to next year's Dawson City Music Festival, says Nicky Bell. The Dawsonite is still cracking jokes despite, he said, having his head stepped on by an RCMP officer last weekend.

‘Welcome, visitors to the police state of Dawson City.”

This is the slogan that should greet visitors coming to next year’s Dawson City Music Festival, says Nicky Ball.

The Dawsonite is still cracking jokes despite, he said, having his head stepped on by an RCMP officer last weekend.

Ball, 25, is a miner.

Now, he is sitting out one of the busiest seasons in years because another officer tore a major ligament on the inside of his knee, the MCL, Ball said.

“I was back downtown from the festival after the music ended and I decided I was just gonna take ‘er easy and go pass out in my shack,” said Ball, who sometimes stays in a small cabin on the back corner of his mom’s property in Dawson’s downtown core.

“I got woken up to about, what I thought was, four police officers arresting me while I was sleeping,” he said. “They came into my little shack and basically I lost it and I don’t really think I was conscious by the time I was resisting arrest.

“They slammed me on the ground, stepped on my head then one guy grabbed my knee and wrenched it right over, tore my MCL in my left knee.

“I had no idea what happened. As I was getting put in the car, my mother came out on the back deck and was getting really upset at them. But she had no idea.”

Ball’s mother informed the police that they were arresting her son on her private property at which point the police told her they had received a call from the Midnight Sun Hotel about a break-in of their warehouse. The warehouse is located directly across the alleyway from Ball’s shack.

But on Thursday, the hotel said there were no calls made to the police from the Midnight Sun’s staff or management on Friday, July 15.

Ball was taken to the drunk tank.

“I was losing my shit the whole time,” said Ball. “I did absolutely nothing wrong. I was being good and then this happens. I was so mad.

“So I flipped out in the drunk tank for a while, for about 45 minutes, either kicking the door, or trying to grab the security camera out of the corner of the wall, or back on the bed crying, then throwing the mattress at the door, kicking the door some more, then back on the bed without the mattress, crying some more. Oh, man. It’s going to be some funny security camera footage. I was completely hysterical.

“What did I ever do to deserve this? There’s been some misunderstanding with the police in the past and I’ve been completely shocked with how they deal with it. For a local guy who’s willing to talk and stuff like that, just coming right at me.

“I was only in there for like 45 minutes, and I was freaking out the whole time and they still let me go,” he said. “And they tried to apologize.”

Ball said he is planning on pressing charges and has started talking with a lawyer.

He was supposed to start a special contract this week where he could have earned $5,000.

After that, he was scheduled to go back to his regular job at the mine in Keno, where he makes about $3,000 every two weeks.

“I’ll have to skip out on that for at least a week and then I don’t know if they’ll want to hire someone else to replace me,” he said. “I’m just waiting to go see the doctor again.”

In a press release from the RCMP, dated Wednesday July 20, the music festival weekend was dubbed “a hit for police.”

While there were no major incidents, RCMP received 63 calls for service that led to 19 charges of drug possession for marijuana, cocaine and magic mushrooms.

Festival organizer Tim Jones hasn’t received a formal report from the police yet but he confirmed that on the festival grounds, it was a smooth year with no big security problems.

“Every time they were on site they were happy,” Jones said of the police. “I am not sure how town was.”

In town, police issued 216 verbal warnings for liquor act infractions and emptied 428 containers of liquor.

During the entire weekend, 33 men spent time in the drunk tank, said Sgt. Dave Wallace of the Dawson City detachment.

“Very few Dawson residents were put in jail,” he added. “It was mostly from outside the community.”

Fourteen officers came from out of town to help out for the weekend, making a force of 21, which covered eight staggered shifts, providing 24-hour service all weekend long, said Wallace.

Mining companies warned the RCMP that at least 150 extra miners and stakers would be attending the festivities after six weeks out at camp, said Wallace.

“Several Dawson City community members commented that you couldn’t go five minutes without seeing a police officer,” Sgt. Don Rogers from the Whitehorse detachment said in the release.

On Thursday, Wallace said he would “pull the file and review” what happened with Ball. He did not return calls by press time.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com