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Man at heart of violent downtown arrest facing several charges

Charges against Skyler Kent include allegedly uttering/sending death threats to two women and a Barrie police officer
The snow-covered cenotaph in downtown Barrie is shown in a file photo.

A man who was violently arrested near Memorial Square while skateboarding in downtown Barrie in February 2021 is facing numerous charges, including uttering death threats, assault and forcible confinement.

Skyler Kent, 22, was before the courts by video remand on Thursday and is scheduled to be back for another court appearance on Feb. 2 for allegedly disobeying court orders to stay away from the victim.

The allegations against Kent date back to 2020 and 2021. The charges include four counts of failure to comply and three counts of uttering/sending death threats to two women and a Barrie police officer.

One of the women named in the failure-to-comply is also named as a victim in multiple charges against Kent. Those charges include one for assault in Oro-Medonte Township, five assault charges in the city of Barrie, one for forcible confinement, and two assaults involving a weapon.

Court documents show that on Jan. 31, 2021 and April 10, 2021, Kent allegedly assaulted a woman with a weapon, which was said to be a knife. 

Court filings also allege that Kent choked the woman sometime between March 1 and March 31, 2021. The charge for forcible confinement is believed to have occurred on or around March 25, 2021, according the court documents. 

Kent remains in custody and none of the allegations against him have been tested in court. 

The Barrie resident was involved in a high-profile arrest on Feb. 4, 2021 near the intersection of Dunlop and Owen streets, not far from the city's cenotaph.

The incident was filmed by many onlookers as a Barrie police officer violently arrested Kent in front of Memorial Square. Videos began circulating online that same afternoon showing officers arresting a man on Dunlop Street East.

Kent was charged with causing a disturbance and assault with attempt to resist arrest. He was released on a promise to appear in court and an undertaking. 

Kimberley Greenwood, who was the city's police chief at the time, issued a statement saying: “The images captured in the video are concerning to both the public and myself.”

At one point in one of the videos obtained by BarrieToday, the officer can be seen flipping Kent over and striking him on the back of the head.

Another video shows the officer on top of Kent with a taser to his neck. The officer can then be heard asking, “Do you want this?” followed by “Put your hands behind your back right now or I’m lighting you up.”

Bystanders can be heard asking Kent to stop resisting, as well as telling the officer and those approaching the scene that it was excessive force.

The day after Kent's downtown arrest, Greenwood asked Ontario Provincial Police to conduct an independent investigation into what transpired.

The OPP's Professional Standards Unit concluded its probe April 29, 2021 with Barrie police Const. Jason Stamp being charged with assault and assault with a weapon. Stamp had been with Barrie police for 18 years at the time of the incident. He was suspended from duty with pay.

Stamp is scheduled to appear in Barrie court on Monday, Jan. 30 to enter a plea. None of the allegations against Stamp have been tested in court.