Canada

Moncton photographer 'disappointed' nobody stepped up to help when he was attacked downtown

Moncton photographer 'disappointed' nobody stepped up to help when he was attacked downtown

Award-winning Moncton photographer, Maurice Henri, says he was leaning against a pole along Main Street snapping photos around 7 p.m. last Thursday when a man approached him and demanded he hand over his $3,000 camera.

He said when he refused, “[the man] started screaming he was going to kill me.”

“He was holding me and pulling me by the strap and by the neck and when that was not letting free he was hitting me with the other hand and then he stared punching me with the camera.”

Henri says he tried to fight the man off who “appeared to be high on drugs.”

While dodging punches, he says he yelled at people walking by to call 911. “I was looking at people saying call 911, call 911 and to my disappointment nobody did.”

He says he managed to grab his phone and dial 911 himself while trying to fight the man off.

Codiac RCMP told Global News they responded to the call and said that a man was taken into custody and later released. Police said the man will appear in court to face charges in the coming weeks.

Henri says the incident highlights what he believes is an increase in crime in Moncton’s downtown.

“The guy was wacked out, he was on something very strong.”

He says his wife works downtown and will no longer walk to work because she fears for her safety walking past people now panhandling more aggressively.

“Now it is asking for money and when you say no, they are very aggressive with their words,” says Henri.

Henri hopes that by telling his story he can highlight the growing issues downtown and encourage more people to watch out for one another and to step up and call 911 when someone is in trouble.

Charles Leger, chair of the Cordiac Regional Policing Authority, said he believes there has been an increase in criminal activity and panhandling, specifically in the last year.

“Certainly a lot more issues around mental health and addictions, you know, we are seeing crystal meth here. We are seeing a lot of drug activity,” says Leger.

He says the city needs more addiction services and is also planning to launch its community policing program this fall.

“They are the eyes and ears for the police and as well as for citizens.”

He is also encouraging citizens to call 911 when they see someone in trouble.