HALIFAX – Residents of New Brunswick are calling for immediate action after an aggressive arrest was filmed in Campbellton on Friday and shared widely online.
Patricia Leclair says she was shocked when she first saw the video which shows a New Brunswick RCMP officer repeatedly hitting a man, while another civilian appears to be holding his legs, nailing him to the ground.
New Brunswick RCMP say members of the Campbellton Detachment responded to reports that a man was brandishing a stick as he entered local downtown businesses around 1:15 p.m. on July 3.
A witness to the arrest told CTV he resisted the arrest. RCMP say the man refused to receive medical treatment and was taken into custody where he remains.
Police have since identified the man to CTV as Andre Mercier, 30. Leclair says Mercier is well known in the community; often seen living on the streets struggling with mental health issues.
“That’s why we fight and we fight to do something. It’s high time Campbellton woke up and started helping these people, ”says Leclair.
New Brunswick RCMP said an independent review body was tasked with investigating the officer’s actions during the arrest – a common practice for the RCMP when officers are involved in serious incidents .
The Quebec Independent Investigations Bureau, or BEI, said he was chosen to conduct the review. The organization says six investigators were to arrive in Campbellton by Saturday night.
The RCMP said the subject officer was 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 Mercier’s legs is Marco Savoie, a city councilor.
CTV News attempted to speak to Councilor Savoie but had no response at the time of publication.
“Councilor Savoie was not acting as an adviser, he was acting as a citizen. It is important to specify that, yes, we are elected officials, but I do not intend to ask for his resignation, ”said Comeau.
Some residents say they would like to see the councilor removed from office.
Jessica Fair grew up with André Mercier and says she would like to see the counselor deal with the consequences of his involvement in the arrest.
“If it was me or you or someone else without a badge, or in a councilman’s chair, we would be held accountable for our actions,” Fair said.
Mercier is due to undergo a bail hearing tomorrow afternoon in Campbellton court. Fair held a rally outside the courthouse at this time.