A criminal investigation into an incident involving RNC officers last year outside a pool hall in St. John’s is going to be done by RCMP investigators, RNC Chief Bill Janes confirmed today.
RNC Chief of Police Bill Janes speaks to the media at RNC headquarters in St. John’s this afternoon. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
The investigation centres around an incident that took place in the parking lot of Dooly’s on Topsail Road on Dec. 15.
On that night, Bradley Bartlett was leaving a Christmas party. He was standing outside waiting for a cab with a drink in his hand when he was approached by RNC officers who had received a call of somebody drinking in public.
An altercation ensued and Bartlett suffered injuries to his face serious enough that, while no bones were broken, he was taken to the hospital by officers.
Bartlett was charged with three counts of assaulting a police officer and another count of obstructing an officer. Those charges were all dropped by the Crown earlier this week because it was determined that there were no grounds for the initial arrest that lead to the altercation and because the Crown felt there was no liklihood of conviction.
Bartlett’s lawyer, Bob Simmonds, then said his client and several eyewitnesses at the scene that night had told him it was a RNC officer that assaulted Bartlett. Four officers were on the scene but one allegedly punched Bartlett in the face three times.
Simmonds said Bartlett would be making a formal complaint to the RNC Public Complaints Commission.
Janes confirmed today the commission had received that complaint and had decided it warranted an investigation. Janes said he was in the process of writing up a request to have the RCMP conduct the investigation into the actions of the RNC officers that night. He also said he had verbal agreement from the RCMP to take on the investigation.
The officers at the scene that night, including the one that is accused of punching Bartlett, will be performing their regular duties for now, Janes said, pointing out that it’s just an allegation at this point. He said that could change depending on how the investigation develops.