CAMDEN, NJ—Former state assemblyman Arthur Barclay, who is charged with simple assault, told police he was defending himself from the woman he was living with when he accidentally hit her in the face, according to video footage obtained by TAPinto Camden.
As Barclay awaits a July 20 municipal court date on the charges, new details have emerged surrounding the June 7 incident that lead to his resignation from the state legislature.
Police body cam footage obtained by TAPinto Camden shows Barclay being put into handcuffs and denying he intentionally struck the woman, telling officers the incident began after he said he discovered she was cheating on him earlier in the day.
On June 7, at approximately 7 p.m., Camden County Police officers arrived at a home in the Fairview section of the city after receiving reports of a domestic incident.
The footage begins inside the officers' patrol car as they drive to the scene. Upon arrival, two officers enter the home. A woman, who is not identified, is sitting on a set of stairs with bloody paper towels at her feet blowing her nose.
In his initial interview with police at the scene, recorded by a Camden County Police officer’s body camera, Barclay told an officer he was packing up his clothing to move out of the house when the woman threw water on him and his clothes and hit him with her hands.
He told police he went to leave and get water to “petty throw water back,” and when he returned, he told police she struck him in the head with a bottle, which fell and broke on the ground, and then struck him again and cut his wrist.
Barclay said it was his reaction to being struck with the broken bottle that caused his right arm to swing and hit the woman in the face.
In the video, a deep wound is visible on his left forearm, and he appears to be bleeding from his face.
“I didn’t swing and punch her. I would never do shit like that,” Barclay told the police officer.
When police officers told Barclay he was under arrest a few minutes later, he appeared surprised, asking if the woman was going to be arrested. He also made multiple requests for a specific police lieutenant.
He was then taken to Lady of Lourdes Hospital for medical treatment, and then to the Camden County Police Department where he was fingerprinted and released on his own recognizance.
No footage of the woman being interviewed was released.
As Barclay is being arrested, a woman can be heard of camera asking why the woman in the house was not being arrested.
Barclay could not be reached for comment about the video.
Barclay resigned as an assemblyman for New Jersey’s 5th District on June 18 when news of his arrest was reported by multiple news outlets. In his letter to Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, Barclay did not give a reason for his resignation. Camden County Democratic Chair James Beach released a statement on June 18 that said Barclay was resigning for "health reasons."
On June 30, former Camden City Councilman William Spearman was sworn in to the state assembly to replace Barclay.
Born and raised in Camden, Barclay graduated from Camden High in 2000, where he was a basketball standout. He went on to play basketball for the University of Memphis, and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.
According to his city council biography posted on the City of Camden’s website, after college in 2005, Barclay took a position in Washington, D.C. with FedEx Corporation. In 2007, Barclay played professional basketball for the Rochester Razorsharks of Rochester, New York. He played until 2009.
He was elected to the Camden City Council in 2014, and served until 2016 when he was elected to the state assembly representing the parts of Camden and Gloucester counties for the state's 5th legislative district.
During his tenure, he served as the deputy majority whip, and according to his bio page on the state legislature’s website, is a supervisor for Camden County Department of Events and Community Outreach.
According to county spokesperson Dan Keashen on Wednesday, he is still an employee in the county's Department of Events and Community Outreach, earning an annual salary of $59,932.
In January, he was the primary sponsor on a bill that establishes a mandatory training program for human resources officers of public employers on handling and responding to reports of domestic violence. The bill, A-427, is pending.