BATTLEFORD — Mayor Ames Leslie has issued a statement on behalf of Battleford town council regarding the video of an assault of an Indigenous man in Battleford.
Leslie said the town was “completely saddened” to hear of the events, and called the situation “disheartening.” The mayor offered an apology to Colby Tootoosis, the victim identified in the video, and to his family for what they experienced. He further asked that this “not be a reflection of our community. “
The matter is still under investigation by the Battlefords RCMP detachment, who say they have identified two of the three men seen in the video. The video was posted online by the resident at whose home the incident happened.
The statement from the town in full is as follows:
“The town is completely saddened to hear of the events that occurred in our community earlier this week. At no time is assault condoned, or supported in our community, for any reason, by council of the town of Battleford. This situation is disheartening, as it was the mistaken identify of an Indigenous man, who was not at all involved in this alleged incident.
“We cannot speak to the intentions of those involved, however the actions displayed in the videos are concerning and appeared to go against Battleford’s goal to create an inclusive and diverse community, one that is welcoming and safe for all.
“We would like to apologize on behalf of town council, to Colby and his family, that he and his young daughter had to experience an unprovoked event of this nature, in our community. We realize that 'sorry' can be an empty word and used too often. However, we would ask that this event not be a reflection of our community. Battleford is a member of the Battlefords Regional Community Coalition and part of Coalition of Inclusive Communities, and have been taking steps towards bridging communities of all cultures, with a priority focus of changing the narrative with our Indigenous partners and neighbours.
“The justice system was created to deal with criminal actions and the town of Battleford believes that at no time should citizens take action into their own hands.”