The federal government has settled a lawsuit involving a police assault against a young African Nova Scotian man in Digby ten years ago.

The RCMP admitted to no particulars, but apologized and agreed to pay Brendan Clarke $248,000.

In October of 2002, Brendan Clarke, then 19, tried to make a purchase at a Digby corner store with a $100 bill.

The bill was real, but the clerk thought it was counterfeit. Police were called. Surveillance video from the store shows police approaching Clarke from behind and punching him in the head while restraining him. 

Clarke says the attack continued outside, where he says he was kicked and pepper-sprayed while handcuffed in the back of a Digby RCMP cruiser.

History of racism

Gordon Allen, his lawyer, said he was ready to go to court to prove those allegations.

"I think policing is tough and most do a good job. We think this was an egregious exception," he said Monday.

"We think we would have been able to prove everything in court, though we settled before and it was an appropriate resolution."

Allen said the apology and compensation satisfied his client.

"Two statements of regret, and I believe they are sincere, just expressing regret the incident took place and this young man had a rough go of it afterward," he said. "He's looking forward to moving on."

Lawyers representing the Attorney General of Canada tried to keep the details of this settlement out of the public eye through a confidentiality agreement.

Nova Scotia RCMP said they will issue a response to the settlement later.

In 2008, Ian Atkins, then the top RCMP officer in Nova Scotia, apologized to black residents of Digby for the behaviour of an unnamed commander who made racist and sexually suggestive comments to two black women. The women also received a monetary settlement.

Also in 2008, a young black Digby man and a police officer were involved in a street fight that prompted accusations of racism. Both men accepted responsibility for the brawl.