External review pending into video of violent arrest in Campbellton, N.B.

A New Brunswick RCMP officer has been placed on administrative duties and an external review is pending after an arrest was caught on video in Campbellton, Friday afternoon.

New Brunswick RCMP say 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, Friday, July 2nd.

During a phone interview with CTV News Atlantic, New Brunswick RCMP Sgt. Mario Maillet said when officers arrived, the man resisted arrest and an altercation ensued.

Part of the arrest was recorded and posted to social media where it has been widely viewed. In the more than three minute video, a male officer can be seen repeatedly striking the male suspect while an unidentified civilian holds down his legs. RCMP say the man declined medical attention and was taken into custody where he remains.

Campbellton resident Cameron MacDonald says he witnessed the entire encounter from inside his business. He says before the video began, the officer made several attempts to subdue the man - none of which were successful.

“I do understand from that officer’s perspective, he was doing everything he could to do his job, but at some point, it became obvious to not only me, but all other onlookers that he had sort of broken the rule book at some point and was now not acting as a police officer,” says MacDonald.

MacDonald says the encounter was difficult to watch and questions if the level of force the officer demonstrated was necessary.

“When you’re watching this happen, you know there’s something wrong, but you’re not sure what it is. And then it hits you; this officer is not behaving like a police officer anymore,” says MacDonald.

An external review of the arrest has been requested by New Brunswick RCMP. The province does not currently have their own independent review agency, so the Department of Justice and Public Safety has been asked to select an agency to conduct the review.

When asked if the actions of the officer in the video were excessive, Sgt. Maillet said, “the RCMP is aware there is a video of the incident that has been shared on social media, but it would be inappropriate to comment further while the independent review is pending.”

Campbellton Mayor, Ian Comeau, was brief in his response on the matter. Only saying the city is working with RCMP and he will have more to say publicly on Monday.

“I think it’s important to listen to both sides of the stories and from there, we will deal with it,” says Comeau.

Comeau says the city will release more information Monday morning during a virtual press conference on Facebook.