New Brunswick

Fredericton police officer shown pocketing makeup in video

Video of a Fredericton police officer putting cosmetics into her pocket in a store in Houlton, Me., was shown at the second day of her arbitration hearing Tuesday.

Second day of Const. Cherie Campbell's arbitration hearing into charge she stole from Marden's in Houlton

Const. Cherie Campbell speaks with lawyer T.J. Burke outside her arbitration hearing before the New Brunswick Police Commission. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

Video of a Fredericton police officer putting cosmetics into her pocket in a store in Houlton, Maine was shown at the second day of her arbitration hearing Tuesday.

Const. Cherie Campbell faces a disciplinary hearing, accused of contravening the Police Act with three charges against her:

  • Campbell is alleged to have stolen about $20 worth of cosmetics from Marden's discount store in Dec. 2014
  • Campbell "utilized her position as a police officer to obtain favourable treatment" by telling security officers she was a police officer, in order to sway them.
  • Campbell called a police officer in Fredericton to try to keep news of the incident from Fredericton Police Chief Leanne Fitch.

Testimony on the second day of the hearing focused on what happened Dec. 2 at the Marden's store.

Steve Shannon, Marden's supervisor of loss prevention, was called to the stand and questioned by lawyer Jamie Eddy.

Stephen Shannon is Marden's supervisor for loss prevention. (CBC)
Eddy is representing Fredericton Police Chief Leanne Fitch, who brought the complaint against Campbell.

Shannon was in charge of monitoring 30 video surveillance cameras in the store that day.

He testified he noticed a woman in the health and beauty aisle with cosmetics in her hand.

Shannon said she first placed the cosmetics in the cart, but picked them up again, took her cellphone out of her left pocket and put the cosmetics in that pocket, placing the cellphone in her right pocket.

She partially zipped the pocket with the makeup in it.

Later at the checkout, Shannon said Campbell paid for the rest of her items, but not the makeup.

At one point, he said she used her cellphone, started to place it in the pocket with the makeup, but then switched it to her right pocket.

Shannon said he confronted Campbell in the parking lot and asked her to return to the store.

He said she didn't ask why, but later said, "I know what this is for, it's the makeup. I'm a police officer." 

Surveillance video of Campbell

Security video from the store was shown during Shannon's testimony.

The video showed Campbell tentatively putting a handful of cosmetics into the top of her cart, acting as if they are slipping, and picking them up again. She eventually puts them in her pocket.
Lawyer Jamie Eddy is representing Fredericton Police Chief Leanne Fitch, who brought the charges forward against Const. Campbell. (CBC)

Campbell argued at her shoplifting trial in Houlton that she was worried the cosmetics would fall out of the cart, so she put them in her pocket.

Shannon also testified that when an officer from the Houlton police arrived at the store, he heard Campbell ask the officer if he would drop the criminal charge because of "professional courtesy," but he refused.

Lawyer T.J. Burke, representing Campbell, countered that there is a transcript of the video of the conversation the Houlton police officer had with Const. Campbell.

In it, Burke said that Campbell asked for the officer to use "discretion," not for a "courtesy," because they are fellow officers.

Hung jury at trial

Burke also pointed out that the jury in Maine couldn't come to a decision on Campbell's guilt or innocence, with the trial ending in a hung jury.

Campbell was the only person in all of the store's prosecutions for shoplifting who was not convicted.

Asked if he felt this marred the store's record of 100 per cent success, Shannon said, "I was a little upset."

Campbell has been suspended with pay since the incident just over a year ago.

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