Bathurst, New Brunswick, police officers Mathieu Boudreau and Patrick Bulger killed Michel Vienneau (51) on January 12, 2015, shooting the man outside the train station as he returned with his partner from a vacation. On February 24, 2017 Judge Camille Dugas-Horsman simply tossed the charges of manslaughter against the officers, an all too typical move by the courts to protect killer cops in cases where dubious conduct makes charges unavoidable. This decision was additionally troubling given that an RCMP investigation found that Vienneau was not involved in any illegal activity before or at the time that he was killed.
In response, and in outrage over that decision, “Friends of Michel Vienneau” are circulating a petition demanding that New Brunswick’s attorney general step in to order that the officers responsible stand trial in the killing. There are many questions that they want answered. Among these is why the police acted almost immediately with lethal force against a man who was not engaged in any criminal activity and who posed no threat to the public. Why did they shoot him?
As friend Camille Mclaughlin, who initiated the petition puts it: “For the friends of Michel Vienneau following the preliminary hearing, it was a disaster because there was no way we could see the truth in what happened. Why did they kill him instead of just check him? For drug or anything. They killed an innocent person who now has been cleared of any illegal act” (quoted in Yard 2017).
Another question is the identity and intentions of an anonymous tipster who called Crime Stoppers to accuse Vienneau and his partner Annick Basque of drinking and transporting drugs as they returned from a trip to Montreal. The anonymous tipster apparently gave detailed descriptions of the couple as well as providing police with the make, model, and year of the car registered to Vienneau (Yard 2017). Vienneau’s brother, Nicolas Vienneau, questions the nature of the Crime Stoppers tip and wants the name of the tipster revealed publicly.
The petition, “Justice pour Michel Vienneau homme d’affaires tué par la police le 12 jan. 2015 à Bathurst,” can be found at change.org. It reads in part:
“We, the undersigned, request that Justice be done for Michel Vienneau and that a Trial be held to explain to the public why the police have committed such a shameful and brutal gesture at the Bathurst Station to commit a murder of an innocent businessman who wasn’t involved in any illegal act, rather than simply intercept it. The conclusion of the Preliminary Hearing in the case implicitly indicates that the police can now commit murders and assassinations on anyone without any consequence for their actions on their part. Transparency in this matter is very important and crucial in order to make the population aware of why the police have acted in this way.
“We, the undersigned, ask the Attorney General of New Brunswick, Serge Rousselle, to force a Trial for True Justice for Michel Vienneau’s family and friends.”
Vienneau’s niece, Nikki, saying Judge Dugas-Horsman’s decision has devastated the family, supports the petition and speaks of its importance to the family: “For us it’s important thing that a lot of people agree with us that this has to go on. We’re still on it. Michel is not here with us but somebody has to do the work” (quoted in Yard 2017). Vienneau’s parents, in ill health, have been hit hard by the killing of their son and by the actions of the court.
Yard, Bridget. 2017. “Michel Vienneau’s Friends Demand a Trial for Killing in 2015.” CBC News. March 7. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/michel-vienneau-friends-demand-trial-1.4013298
Petition link: https://www.change.org/p/justice-pour-michel-vienneau-homme-d-affaires-tu%C3%A9-par-la-police-le-12-jan-2015-%C3%A0-bathurst-justice-for-michel-vienneau-businessman-killed-by-police-jan-12-2015-in-bathurst?recruiter=269294881&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=mob-xs-no_src-reason_msg