Digby man blames race for police assault
Brandon Clarke says an apology from the RCMP means everything to him
An African Nova Scotian man who received a large financial settlement from the RCMP earlier this week says he believes race was a factor in his beating.
In October of 2002, Brandon 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 said he was kneed, kicked and pepper sprayed while handcuffed in the back of a Digby RCMP vehicle.
On Monday, a judge confirmed a $248,000 settlement for the assault.
Ten years on, Clarke says he's still sure his race was a factor in what took place.
"From the second the individual walked into the store to the second that everything else happened, I definitely feel that race was a major role in that situation," he said.
"The situation it's just something that plays in my mind over and over and over. And you know now hopefully I can stop thinking about it and focussing on other things."
The RCMP would only say it believes the matter has now been resolved, and would offer no further comment on the matter.
Grateful for apology
While he was initially charged for assaulting a peace officer, Clarke thinks the video was the only thing that kept him from jail.
"As messed up as it might sound, I'm one of the lucky ones, you know? Because what I went through was caught on videotape. If it wasn't for that videotape it would have been my word against the two officers' word."
Clarke, who now lives in Northern Alberta with his fiancé and children, said the apology is the most important part of this resolution.
"It’s just something you'll never forget, and something I don't think I'll ever get over," he said.
"An apology, it just means a lot to me."