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


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chloe Tatsumi dismounts the balance beam to cap her routine during the Yukon Championships at the Polarettes Gymnastics Club on May 1. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Gymnasts vie in 2021 Yukon Championships

In a year without competition because of COVID-19, the Polarettes Gymnastics Club hosted its Yukon Championships.

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Yukon Budget 2.0

If the banks that finance the Yukon’s growing debt were the only… Continue reading

Yukon Supreme Court Chief Justice Suzanne Duncan dismissed an application on May 3 seeking more transparity on the territory’s state of emergency declaration. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Supreme Court rules confidential memo can’t be used in challenge of state of emergency

Court upholds cabinet confidentiality after request to use internal government memo as evidence.


Wyatt’s World for May 7, 2021.… Continue reading

Yukon Zinc’s Wolverine minesite has created a mess left to taxpayers to clean up, Lewis Rifkind argues. This file shot shows the mine in 2009. (John Thompson/Yukon News file)
Editorial: The cost of the Wolverine minesite

Lewis Rifkind Special to the News The price of a decent wolverine… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: border opening and Yukon Party texts

Dear Premier Sandy Silver and Dr Hanley, Once again I’m disheartened and… Continue reading

Fire chief Jason Everett (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City launches emergency alert system

The city is calling on residents and visitors to register for Whitehorse Alert

Two young orienteers reach their first checkpoint near Shipyards Park during a Yukon Orienteering Association sprint race May 5. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Orienteers were back in action for the season’s first race

The Yukon Orienteering Association began its 2021 season with a sprint race beginning at Shipyards.

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its May 3 meeting and the upcoming 20-minute makeover.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister talks tourism in “virtual visit” to the Yukon

Tourism operators discussed the budget with Freeland

Polarity Brewing is giving people extra incentive to get their COVID vaccine by offering a ‘free beer’ within 24 hours of their first shot. John Tonin/Yukon News
Polarity Brewing giving out ‘free’ beer with first COVID vaccination

Within 24 hours of receiving your first COVID-19 vaccine, Polarity Brewing will give you a beer.

A Yukon government sign is posted to one of the trees that have been brought down for the sewer project in Riverdale explaining the project. The area is set to be revegetated with grass when it is complete. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Planned stormsewer outfall will improve drainage on Selkirk Street

Resident raises concern over clearing as council considers agreement.

Most Read