Sunday, March 11, 2007

A Brief Summary of the Official Crimes of the Montreal Police in 2006

The following text from COBP was translated by yours truly - the French original is available on the CMAQ site.

A Brief Summary of the Official Crimes of the Montreal Police in 2006

This text is primarily based on press releases issued by the Service de Police de la Ville de Montreal (SPVM), in which SPVM chief Yvan Delorme has attempted to reassure the public that any police officer suspected of committing a crime is immediately arrested and charged, while simultaneously celebrating the impunity enjoyed by killer cops... So the following does not deal with all of that abuse committed by the police which was never officially discussed by the SPVM. COBP will examine such cases in a subsequent text, but in the meantime here is a preliminary summary of the “official” abuse committed by the Montreal police in 2006.

On January 25th, officer Benoît Guay, a 13-year veteran of the SPVM, was arrested and charged with 22 counts of aggravated sexual assault, kidnapping, forcible confinement, assault and uttering death threats in 2004 and 2005, on seven young women between 15 and 20 years of age. The SPVM suspended him without pay but also tried to protect him by concealing his identity and minimizing the affair, stating that he was only accused “of committing ONE sexual assault”! [emphasis added]

On February 17th, SPVM chief Yvan Delorme declared that he was “satisfied” with the Crown’s decision that no charges would be laid against the two officers implicated in the shooting death of a man – whose identity we still do not know – on July 4th 2005 in Montreal.

Also on February 17th, the SPVM announced that charges of assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm and simple assault were laid against the two officers implicated in the brutal arrest of Anne-Marie Péladeau on October 12th 2005, which had been filmed by a TVA news helicopter. One officer is suspended with half-pay and the other is reassigned to administrative duties.

On March 23rd, an officer the SPVM stated that an officer had been arrested and suspended without pay, although neither the identity of the officer nor the details of the charges were revealed to the public. What’s more, “the SPVM will not release any further details until this case is closed.”

On June 26th, the SPVM announced that “this morning investigators from the Internal Affairs Department arrested one of its police officers [...] on charges of drug trafficking, conspiracy to import a controlled substance [i.e. drugs, -trans.], laundering the proceeds of a criminal act and possession of stolen goods.” The police officer was suspended without pay “until the conclusion of legal proceedings.” The officer’s name was not released.

On September 20th, the SPVM stated that it “has suspended without pay sergeant Alfredo Munoz for as long as he remains before an internal disciplinary committee. The officer was suspended in accord with the disciplinary code of the Montreal City police. The investigation had shown that work he carried out for his company was incompatible with his work as a police officer.” The nature this work is not disclosed.

On October 7th the SPVM announced that an investigation had been opened by the Quebec Provincial Police. According to a press release, “Yesterday, around 11:30pm, police officers from Station 20 were investigating a case of fraud, following up on an earlier call from a business. When the officers intercepted the suspect at the corner of Bridge and Mill, the latter experienced chest pains. The 53 year old man was declared dead at the hospital.”

On October 16th, the SPVM announced that an investigation had been opened by the Quebec Provincial Police, “following events this morning in the Côte-des-Neiges/Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood.” Officers from Station 11 had responded to a report of conjugal violence. The suspect is said to have threatened them “with a blade. The officers opened fire and hit the man [...] the suspect is in stable condition.”

On October 27th, the SPVM announced that “in the course of an investigation, an officer from the SPVM was suspended without pay for the duration of legal proceedings [...] he faces two charges of unauthorized use of a computer [...] the name of the officer cannot be released before his hearing.”

On November 6th, the SPVM announced that the Quebec Provincial Police had opened an investigation following the death of a man in Lachine. Officers with the SPVM had intervened following an armed robbery in a corner store; they located the suspect on the staircase of a triplex at which point, according to the police, he “stabbed himself several times with a knife before the officers could intervene [...] the suspect died as a result of his wounds.”

On December 7th, the SPVM announced that one of its officers with a support unit was suspended without pay, “following the arrest this morning, by the Quebec Provincial Police, of an officer with the SPVM accused of committing several sexual assaults [...] outside of his workplace, while off-duty.” To protect the police officer, the SPVM refused to release his name, all the while claiming that this was in order to “protect the victims,” minors that the police officer knew.

The Montreal Police Brotherhood Goes Oink Oink:
A Brief Summary of Statements Released in 2006

For the most part the following text is based on press releases issued by the Montreal Police Brotherhood, the Montreal police officers’ union. Here one can find various statements from Yves Francoeur, president of the Brotherhood, in defense of brutal and murderous police, as well as political pressure to eliminate any obstacle to police abuse, such as deontology and elements of the police legislation.

On January 13th, the newspaper La Presse published an open letter from Brotherhood president Yves Francoeur under the title “Restons clames!” [ “Stay Calm!”, - trans.]. Francoeur claimed to be writing “on behalf of the 4,400 members of the Brotherhood [...] who feel deeply uncomfortable following the demonstration last Saturday, in the tragic case of the death of Mohamed Anas Bennis.” He complained that “police officers feel betrayed and hurt by certain things that were reported in the media [...] We don’t understand why they are trying to make Montreal [...] out to be a banana republic where police shoot citizens on sight simply because of how they are dressed or their race.” Francoeur concluded by inviting “the Muslim community to be patient, even though this may be difficult, and to wait until all the facts are known before drawing conclusions. Nobody has anything to hide here and the police, both those officers who were directly involved in this case and those who feel attacked by the accusations which were made Sunday, are eager to put this behind them.”

On February 7th the Brotherhood released a press release stating that “Montreal police officers have never been tax collectors and this will not change just because thirty three officers have been assigned to traffic control. The police have only one goal: to guarantee the safety of Montrealers.” This is a reaction to “several recent articles and letters in the newspaper that describe the police officers assigned to traffic control as being plain old tax collectors.”

On February 17th Francoeur “protests” and “wishes to express the union’s great dismay at the suspension of officer Roberto Sforza” (in the Péladeau affair). The Brotherhood “feels that the police administration has committed a serious error by suspending the police officer (with half-pay) before he has even had his hearing [...], as nothing in the collective agreement forces it to do so [...] the Department is carrying out a public lynching of this police officer before he even has a chance to go to trial.” Francoeur claims that “the circumstances certainly justify giving police officers a chance to defend themselves before declaring them guilty in the eyes of the citizens.” He says that Delorme is infringing on the rights of violent police “to a full and complete defense” and “the presumption of innocence,” and that he is “simply giving in to political pressure, caring more about his image and spineless public relations than about justice.” He concludes that “Montreal police officers now know what to expect from the new police administration!”

On August 16th Francoeur released the results of two opinion polls which had been carried out by the Ipsos Decarie research firm on the Brotherhood’s behalf. The first conclusion, “despite what many people, including many police officers, may think, Montrealers appreciate their police officers and the work that they do,” and this despite the fact that “police are often called upon to carry out repressive and coercive measures.” The second conclusion was that the “organizational model promoted by the Police Department makes it difficult for officers to do their work well and to feel satisfied with this [...] The Brotherhood feels that, without throwing out the baby with the bathwater, it would be possible to revisit the Department’s organizational structure to set up a greater number of work groups.” Finally, the Brotherhood denounced the “secondary effects” of the June 2000 police legislation: “when they intervene, officers now feel less confident, less supported and more vulnerable. Because they do not feel supported and feel that the police legislation can be used against them to ill effect by criminals and their lawyers, without the police authorities rising to their defense. In certain circumstances, police officers may be tempted to turn a blind eye instead of intervening [...] The Brotherhood, along with the Quebec Federation of Municipal Police and the Quebec Provincial Police Association, would like to use this opinion poll to convince the Minister of Public Security to undertake a transparent and efficient revision of the police legislation” and to do so “in order to ensure that the measures of deontology established not be counter-productive.”

On September 29th the Brotherhood proudly announced that it had set “an absolute record” during the 40th day of bacon and beans, its annual fundraiser, delivering “20,600 complete deals, the main course of which was beans and bacon”... after which, why are they so surprised that we call them pigs?

Le Collectif Opposé à la Brutalité Policière (COBP)
tel : (514) 859-9065

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