New Brunswick

Fredericton mayor supports police force after alleged assault

Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside says he supports the city's police force despite the allegation by a Canadian Forces soldier that he was assaulted by constables.

Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside says he supports the city's police force despite the allegation by a Canadian Forces soldier that he was assaulted by constables.

Woodside told CBC News on Friday morning that he is waiting for the RCMP to complete their investigation into Pte. Luc Begin's complaint before commenting on the incident.

The Fredericton mayor said that for the most part, police do a tough job well, and the force shouldn't be judged if there is a case of wrongdoing.

"It happens. And it's unfortunate. And when it does happen, people are held accountable, and that's what's going to happen here," Woodside said.

Woodside used the analogy of a sports team, saying that it shouldn't be condemned for the actions of one player.

Begin, normally based at CFB Valcartier in Quebec, said he was supposed to be deployed to Afghanistan in October 2010. But the infantry private said he suffered a broken vertebra during the altercation and that it could cost him his tour of duty.

Barry MacKnight, the chief of the Fredericton Police Force, said Thursday afternoon that the RCMP will conduct a criminal investigation into Begin's complaint.

It is important that the probe be seen as impartial and "as open as possible," MacKnight said.

MacKnight has suspended with pay one of two officers identified by name in Begin's complaint.

Mistaken for someone else: soldier

In his written submission to the Fredericton police and the New Brunswick Police Commission, Begin, who was in Fredericton off-duty to celebrate his engagement, says he was mistakenly identified by staff at a bar as a customer who had caused problems two weeks earlier.

As he was leaving the establishment, a police officer asked to speak with him. Begin says he tried to explain that he was not the person they were looking for, and that he hadn't even been in Fredericton when the previous incident happened.

Shortly after, he was thrown to the ground and police officers started to hit him and knee him, he says.

The incident was captured on video by Charles LeBlanc, a local blogger who was walking by the bar early Saturday morning. The video shows two officers holding Begin while a third drives his knee into him at least four times.

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