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RCMP officer allegedly punched Mi’kmaw woman during wellness call

June 27, 2024

New Brunswick’s Serious Incident Response Team is investigating.

APTN News: Christina Gillis says she was trying to get help for her daughter who, she believed, was in distress.

On June 13, the mother called the Western Valley RCMP to request a “wellness check” on her daughter who lived in Richmond Corner, New Brunswick north of Fredericton.

“She started to have one of her episodes because she she’s got mental illness and stuff and it was more extreme than usual,” she told APTN News. “I just didn’t wat it to escalate more.”

When four RCMP officers showed up, Gillis said she hoped it would help calm the situation. But she said things got worse.

She said the officers were taunting her daughter.

“I just questioned it,” she said. “I was like … I don’t understand why they’re taunting her right now when we’re trying to calm, deescalate the situation and calm my daughter down.”

Gillis said she approached one of the officers to ask why they were upsetting her daughter.

“That’s when he grabbed my arm and he flipped me over like a rag doll and did what he wanted with me,” she alleged, “and I didn’t know if I didn’t know if I was going to survive it because I was turned over and beat up beat like almost beat to death.”

The photos taken of her face after the incident show multiple bruises and abrasions.

New Brunswick RCMP
One of the photos of Christina Gillis taken after she was arrested. Photo courtesy: Christina Gillis.

New Brunswick’s Serious Incident Response Team, or SIRT, is investigating. The organization investigates police when members of the public are injured or killed. Most of the investigators are former RCMP Members.

The details in its June 17 media release differs from what Gillis said.

According to SIRT, the RCMP were responding to a “family disturbance” not a wellness check.

”During the arrest, a woman intervened, and an altercation ensued between police and the female,” the release said. “The woman was placed under arrest and during this process she was struck in the face.”

According to SIRT’s director, “We are uncovering every stone that needs to be uncovered and conducting a thorough and fair investigation,” said Erin Nauss.

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The Gillis family, from Eskasoni First Nation, is upset with the language used in SIRT’s release.

That includes Gillis stating that she didn’t know she was under arrest until she was put in the police car.

“I believe the narrative my opinion is the RCMP narrative, it is their story as they’re telling it,” said Gillis’ sister Angie. “I tell her I said ‘it’s so important for you to tell your story.’”

At the moment, Gillis is staying with her sister in Nova Scotia.

She was charged with assaulting a police officer, uttering threats, obstruction and mischief. She has notice to appear in court in September.

According to SIRT, a report will be released if no charges are recommended.

Editor’s Note: The story was updated on June 28. The allegations against the RCMP in New Brunswick are being investigated but haven’t been proven. 

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