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'Footwork' done on excessive force probe

Andrew Raven
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (May 11/05) - A Yellowknife police officer remains on administrative duties while an internal probe examines allegations he used excessive force during an arrest last October.

Police could not say Monday when the investigation into a late-night altercation between Const. Scot Newberry and a bargoer would be officially completed.

"Most of the footwork is done," said RCMP Insp. Greg Morrow. "We have to be very thorough with this (investigation) and make sure no stone is unturned."

In March, territorial court judge Brian Bruser accused Newberry of using "excessive force" when he arrested Devon Herback, 23, outside the Raven nightclub Oct. 30.

Herback was on trial on charges of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.

Herback testified he was hit in the temple following a verbal exchange. The blow knocked Herback to the ground and he broke his leg in the process. Newberry testified that he only hit Herback after Herback tried to kick him - testimony the judge dismissed.

Bruser acquitted Herback on both charges and blamed the altercation squarely on Newberry.

"(The victim) was enjoying the protection afforded by our laws and while under the umbrella of the rule of law, Constable Newberry attacked him," Bruser said in a written decision.

A criminal investigation into the incident is being conducted by an RCMP member from outside of the Yellowknife detachment.

Once completed, the file will turned over to the district superintendent who will likely consult with the Crown Attorney before deciding whether charges are merited, Morrow said.