Former Nunavut design artist faces new round of assault charges
Jonathan Cruz painted a mural in the Puvirnituq Community Hall in 2012. The former Iqaluit artist faces a slew of assault charges in the Ottawa area. (File photo)
Jonathan Cruz will appear in Gatineau court on September 29
A former Iqaluit resident and well-known design artist faces multiple assault charges related to a series of incidents in the Ottawa area in 2020.
Jonathan Cruz, 39, is best known for his murals, which adorn the walls and buildings of Nunavut and Nunavik.
Cruz faces a charge of assault, assault causing bodily harm and mischief following an incident that occurred on November 24, 2020 in Ottawa.
Last July, an Ottawa crown prosecutor authorized the transfer of these charges to a Quebec court in neighboring Gatineau, on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. There, Cruz faces additional charges of assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, and mischief, all allegedly committed against the same woman as his charges in Ottawa.
The transfer of charges was signed by Assistant Crown Attorney Ryan Seifried on July 16, with a request for the presiding judge in Gatineau to “rule on a guilty plea.”
The Crown requested a conditional sentence for Cruz with 24 months probation, an order for the accused to consult, an order not to have contact with the victim and to prohibit Cruz from owning or using weapons fire.
Cruz is due to appear in Gatineau court on September 29.
Cruz first moved to Iqaluit in 2001 and then founded the Nuschool Design Agency, through which he secured contracts to paint murals inside and outside of buildings in Nunavut and Nunavik.
His work is showcased on the alley leading to the Qikiqtani General Hospital, the Igloolik and Puvirnituq community centers, and the Kuujjuaq youth center, to name a few.
Cruz was acquitted of another round of assault charges against a former partner in Iqaluit in 2016.
He moved to Ottawa shortly thereafter, where he relaunched his design business under the name NUSKU.
The Government of Nunavut has awarded three contracts to NUSKU in recent years: a clothing design contract in 2019 valued at $ 5,990 and a logo design contract in the same year for $ 13,771. NUSKU won another graphic design contract in early 2021 for $ 17,885.