Five years ago Chase Claypool was a high school football player with the Abbotsford Panthers, Christy Clark was the premier of British Columbia and Barack Obama was the president of the United States of America.
But today (Oct. 21) also marks the wooden anniversary of local cameraman Kevin MacDonald receiving a face full of bear-mace from a homeless woman.
MacDonald, who stepped away from the news business earlier this year, spent over two decades as a stringer for Black Press and several other national and international media outlets. He was once known as the ‘Abby Newshound’ for his dogged determination to sniff out local stories. He is now employed by Chalo! Freshco.
Back on this day in 2015, he was gathering footage for CTV News on the B.C. Supreme Court decision allowing homeless people to set up overnight camps in public parks. MacDonald and his camera apparently angered a woman who was living at the homeless camp on Gladys Avenue.
She told him he was not allowed to film people without their permission. MacDonald, knowing better, responded that he was on public property and allowed to film.
She didn’t seem to agree, so she sprayed a can of mace into his face.
The scene was famously captured by MacDonald’s camera.
WARNING: Profanity occurs in the attached video
His footage of the attack went viral, and has now collected over 100,000 views. It’s one of the more famous local video clips of the past decade.
Following news of MacDonald’s attack, the News sent a reporter to attend to the fallen ‘newshound’ and he was driven home. MacDonald was unable to drive home because he was blinded from the spray. The reporter who escorted MacDonald home then had to lead the blinded ‘newshound’ into the basement suite he resided in.
— Abbotsford News (@AbbyNews) October 21, 2015
“I’ve never felt pain like that before in my life … It feels like your entire face is on fire,” MacDonald said five years ago following the incident.
He said he was thankful for the passersby who came to his aid, including a woman who called 911 because he couldn’t see to dial his phone and another who gave him her bottle of water so he could flush his eyes.
Paramedics treated MacDonald on the scene, and the woman, Christina Violet Bentley, 39, was arrested and charged with assault with a weapon.
CTV spoke to Bentley shortly after the incident. She claimed she was defending herself at the time. She also referred to MacDonald’s ‘newsmobile’ as a “clown car”.
Bentley later apologized for the attack in court. She was eventually given 18 months probation for the attack.
MacDonald, reflecting on the attack five years later, told The News he’s unclear about the legacy of the event.
“Nothing much has changed and hindsight being what it is I probably would not have shot and sent out the chicken manure incident if I had know how it would have ended,” he stated.
He said the incident has been a difficult one to live down, but it has ultimately been a part of the legacy he created covering the news in Abbotsford.
Just been bear maced at homeless camp can't see and yes it's on tape pic.twitter.com/n7HVbPvkbn
— Kevin Macdonald (@kevinamacdonald) October 21, 2015
Reminds me of you before and after bear spray. Too soon? 😱
— Ian MacDonald (@Ian_A_MacDonald) February 24, 2018
Hey @kevinamacdonald – remember this?
— Abbotsford News (@AbbyNews) October 25, 2019
Nope that short is covered in bear spray from the attack
— Kevin Macdonald (@kevinamacdonald) March 10, 2018
@CstWalkerAPD @LVMPD ya after the bear spray attack I need the vacation no better place to re charge then Vegas
— Kevin Macdonald (@kevinamacdonald) November 5, 2015
— Kevin Macdonald (@kevinamacdonald) October 27, 2015
Bear Spray trust me he will get it twice once by you once by the shower
— Kevin Macdonald (@kevinamacdonald) May 2, 2019