(Hope Levi, 21, says an RCMP investigator told her she would face an investigation over breach of conditions if she filed complaint against the driver of a truck working for SWN Resources Canada which struck her on a New Brunswick highway last Monday. Facebook photo courtesy of Hope Levi)
By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
An Elsipogtog First Nation woman says an RCMP investigator tried to intimidate her away from filing a formal complaint against the driver of a white pick-up truck which struck her during a demonstration on a New Brunswick highway last week.
Hope Levi, 21, suffered a bruised pelvis after she was struck on Hwy 11 last Monday by a white pick-up truck that was doing work for Houston-owned SWN Resources Canada. Levi was taken by ambulance to the hospital following the incident.
Levi said she began receiving calls last week from an RCMP investigator named Rick.
“He has constantly been calling me asking me if I was going to make a statement,” she said.
Levi said on Sunday the investigator called her to say that if she filed a formal complaint at the Richibucto, NB, detachment on the incident she would also face an RCMP investigation into whether she breached conditions stemming from her Oct. 17 arrest.
“I told him that I wanted to (make a statement) and he said if were to go to the detachment…that they would investigate me because of the conditions I received on Oct. 17,” said Levi.
On that day, heavily-armed RCMP tactical units raided a Mi’kmaq Warrior Society-anchored anti-fracking camp that was blocking SWN exploration vehicles in a compound owned by JD Irving Ltd. Levi was one of 40 people arrested.
“I want to make a statement, but I don’t want to go to jail,” said Levi. “I was just like, well I don’t want to do this anymore, just drop it, but my family said that’s not right what they did to me.”
Levi said she felt the RCMP investigator was trying to intimidate her away from filing a complaint.
New Brunswick RCMP spokesperson Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said the RCMP is still investigating the complaint against the truck driver, but that she couldn’t specifically comment on Levi’s allegation.
“If someone was arrested on the 17th and released on conditions not to be anywhere near a protest site and they are breaching their conditions it is a criminal act and they very well could be charged,” said Rogers-Marsh.
A spokesperson for New Brunswick RCMP told APTN National News last Tuesday that investigators was probing a complaint received on the scene that the SWN-linked truck struck three women on the highway.
SWN has used a number of contractors as part of its exploration work in the province which has faced ferocious opposition from Elsipogtog residents and supporters from Acadian and Anglophone communities in the area.
SWN announced Friday it had ended its shale gas exploration work following a week of demonstrations which included burning tires on the highway.
Fears that the discovery of shale gas deposits would lead to the use of the controversial hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, extraction method triggered months-long Mi’kmaq-led protests against SWN’s exploration.
The provincial government has bet heavily on the discovery of shale gas to change New Brunswick’s economic fortunes.
In a speech delivered last week in Miramichi, NB, Premier David Alward said he hoped the development of shale gas would lead to the construction of fertilizer, plastics and petrochemical plants in the province.