Police watchdog agency probes alleged assault by Cape Breton police during arrest

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SYDNEY, N.S. — Nova Scotia's independent police watchdog agency is investigating an allegation that Cape Breton Regional Police officers assaulted a person during an arrest.

The Serious Incident Response Team, or SIRT, says in a news release issued today the incident goes back to an arrest on Aug. 29 last year.

However, the investigators say SIRT was only contacted about it on Feb. 1 by the Cape Breton police, after the Sydney-based force received a letter from a third party saying the person involved had suffered serious injuries during his arrest.

The agency says it launched a preliminary investigation, but due to the pandemic officers were unable to speak to the affected person until March 30.

The team can independently launch an investigation or begin one after a referral from a chief of police, the head of the RCMP in Nova Scotia or the justice minister.

The director is expected to file a public report summarizing the findings within three months of the investigation's completion.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press