Campbellton, N.B. residents call for action after violent arrest caught on camera
New Brunswick residents are calling for immediate action after an aggressive arrest was caught on camera Friday in Campbellton, and shared widely online.
Patricia Leclair says she was shocked when she first saw the video that shows a New Brunswick RCMP officer repeatedly striking a man, while another civilian seemingly holds down his legs, pinning him to the ground.
New Brunswick RCMP says members of the Campbellton detachment responded to reports of a man wielding a stick while entering local businesses in the city’s downtown around 1:15 pm on July 3.
A witness to the arrest told CTV that he was resisting arrest. RCMP says the man declined medical attention and was taken into custody where he remains.
Police have since identified the man to CTV as 30-year old Andre Mercier. Leclair says Mercier is well known in the community; often seen living on the streets, struggling with mental health issues.
“That’s why we’re fighting and fighting to do something. It’s about time that Campbellton wakes up and starts helping those people,” says Leclair.
New Brunswick RCMP says an independent review agency was requested to investigate the actions of the officer during the arrest - a standard practice for the RCMP when officers are involved in serious incidents.
Quebec’s Bureau Des Enquetes Independantes, or BEI, says it's been chosen to conduct the review. The organization says six investigators were expected to arrive in Campbellton by Saturday evening.
RCMP say the officer involved has been placed on administrative leave, pending the review.
Campbellton Mayor Ian Comeau confirmed to CTV News on July 4 that the civilian in the video who appears to be holding down Mercier’s legs, is Marco Savoie, a city councillor.
CTV News made attempts to speak to councillor Savoie but didn't hear back by the time of publication.
“Councillor Savoie did not act as a councillor, he was acting as a citizen. It’s important to state that, yes, we are elected officials, but it is not my intention to ask for his resignation,” says Comeau.
Some residents say they would like to see the councillor removed from his seat.
Jessica Fair grew up with Andre Mercier and says she would like to see the councillor face consequences for his involvement in the arrest.
“If that was me or you or anyone else without a badge, or in a councilmen’s chair, we would be held accountable for our actions,” says Fair.
Mercier is scheduled for a bail hearing tomorrow afternoon in Campbellton court. Fair has organized a rally outside of the courthouse at that time.