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NNSL photo/graphic

A member of the Rae-Edzo police detachment, pictured above, was one of two NWT RCMP officers to be attacked recently. The incidents took on even greater significance in light of the news that four Alberta RCMP officers were shot and killed in the line of duty last Thursday, March 3.

Officers attacked

Dorothy Westerman and Chris Hunsley
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Mar 07/05) - Two police officers were injured in separate attacks in Inuvik and Rae. Senior RCMP officers in both communities are shocked by the violent incidents.

In Rae, a man has been charged with with assaulting a police officer, assault causing bodily harm and two charges of possession of a narcotic.

He is expected to appear in Yellowknife court this week.

The incident occurred in the Rae-Edzo detachment at 9 p.m. Feb. 23.

"The attack was directed at the officer's eyes," said detachment commander Sgt. Bill Eubank.

"It was a surprise, unprovoked attack."

The intoxicated man had just been dropped off at the station by a taxi.

"As the officer was putting the man in the cell, he turned and attacked him," Eubank said.

The unnamed officer was taken to hospital and has since been released, however Eubank said he is not expected to return to duty until the end of March.

While there are usually two officers on duty each shift, there was only one officer on duty the night of the attack.

Eubank said safety is always an issue for police officers.

There are currently five officers at the Rae-Edzo detachment.

In Inuvik, three youth have been charged with assaulting a police officer and underaged drinking after an off-duty RCMP officer was attacked in Northmart Feb. 25.

Const. Watson was knocked down and hit over the head with a fire extinguisher after asking the youths to hand over an open bottle of liquor in Northmart.

Treated that evening in hospital, Const. Watson suffered a concussion and black eye, but was not prevented from returning to work.

A court date has been set for May with one youth facing a charge of assault with a weapon, one charged with assaulting a police officer and the third faces a charge of resisting arrest.

"The officer was trying to do the right thing and nobody from the public came to his assistance," said Cpl. Merle Carpenter, who seemed mystified by the whole incident.

"These are your police officers who protect you and if somebody needs help, one would think it's just common sense to lend a hand."

- with files from Jason Unrau