Category Archives: Quebec

Killer Cop Patrick Ouellet Found Guilty of Dangerous Driving for Killing Five-Year-Old Nicholas Thorne-Belance

Killer cop Patrick Ouellet has been found guilty of dangerous driving in the death of five-year-old Nicholas Thorne-Belance on Montreal’s South Shore in 2014. The Quebec provincial police (Sûreté du Québec, SQ) officer was in an unmarked police cruiser, tailing a suspect at more than 100 km/h in a 50 km/h zone, when he struck and killed Nicholas Thorne-Belance in Saint-Hubert.

In a ruling issued Thursday, July 19, 2018, in Longueuil, Quebec court Judge Éric Simard concluded there was nothing to justify the speed at which Ouellet was driving and that there were “inherent” risks in that activity.

Wrote Simard in his decision: “His failure to take steps to avoid such risks constitutes a marked departure from the standard of care that a reasonable person in the same situation would follow” (quoted in Turnbull 2018).

Ouellet reached a speed of 134 km/h on Gaétan-Boucher Boulevard in the period before the accident — and 108 km/h at the moment of impact. At the intersection of Gaétan-Boucher and Davis, Ouellet struck a vehicle carrying two children in the backseat. Nicholas Thorne-Belance was critically injured and died in hospital five days later (Turnbull 2018).

Ouellet had tried to claim in trial that the crash was unavoidable. The Crown argued that the driving was “objectively dangerous.”

Incredibly, the Crown had initially decided to not lay charges. That decision was only reversed in 2015 after Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée ordered an independent review of the case amid growing community outcry. The first inclination of the state is always to protect the state. Community mobilization can affect that.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 22, 2018. Convictions for dangerous driving causing death carry a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison. We will see if a killer cop gets anything near that.

 

Further Reading

Turnbull, Jay. 2018. “Quebec Police Officer Found Guilty of Speeding, Causing Death of 5-Year-Old.” CBC News. July 19. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-officer-guilty-boys-death-1.4751032

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63-Year-Old Man Killed in High Speed Police Chase in Trois-Rivières, Quebec (July 19, 2018)

High speed police chases are known to be dangerous and deadly. Yet police continue to engage in them even where the fleeing person is only suspected of harmless or minimally harmful activity. And people continue to be killed as a result.

On July 19, 2018, a 63-year-old man was killed during a police chase in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. Initial reports suggest that the incident occurred around noon as the car that the victim was riding in was hit by a vehicle driven by someone in a high-speed pursuit by police.

According to Quebec’s bureau of independent investigations (Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, BEI), the agency that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in the province, the chase started during a police crackdown on people not wearing seat belts and involved police pursuing a vehicle with an expired license plate. For that police were willing to throw all care to the wind—and a person was killed as a result.

The BEI has assigned 12  investigators to the case.


Zachary Fairbairn Identified as Man Who Died During Police Chase in Gatineau Quebec (June 21, 2018)

The Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), the agency that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in Quebec, have named Zachary Fairbairn (28) as the man who died during a police foot chase in Gatineau, Quebec on June 21, 2018. The BEI have not publicly named the officers involved in the fatal chase.


Gatineau Police Investigated for Death of 28-Year-Old Man (June 21, 2018)

Gatineau, Quebec, police are under investigation after a 28-year-old man was struck and killed by a vehicle during a police chase early in the morning of Thursday, June 21, 2018. The Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), the agency that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in the province, report that Gatineau police received a call at around 1:20 AM regarding a man trying to steal vehicles at Casino du Lac-Leamy. According to the BEI, a police officer saw a man who matched a description and approached the man, causing him to flee on foot. The BEI say that the officer ran after the man, who was then struck by a vehicle on boulevard Montclair. None of these claims have been independently confirmed publicly.

The BEI is not an independent investigative body. It relies on police from other forces to carry out investigations into police. In this case the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) are providing two officers to participate in the investigation.


Trial Begins for Killer Cop Patrick Ouellet in Death of 5-Year-Old Nicholas Thorne-Belance

On Monday, June 11, 2018, trial began for killer cop Patrick Ouellet of the provincial police force, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), in the death of five-year-old Nicholas Thorne-Belance in 2014. Officer Ouellet is charged with one count of dangerous driving causing death in the case. Thorne-Belance was a passenger in his father’s car when it was struck by the unmarked police cruiser driven by Ouellet. Ouellet’s vehicle was traveling at more than 120 km/h in a 50 km/h zone in the Longueuil borough of Saint-Hubert, south of Montreal when he hit the vehicle the five-year-old  was in. The trial is scheduled to last two weeks.


High Speed Police Chase Leaves 22-Year-Old Dead in Saguenay, Quebec (May 17, 2018)

A 22-year-old man was killed during a high speed police chase on May 17, 2018. The chase ended when the fleeing vehicle crashed into an oncoming vehicle. The chase and crash happened the morning of May 17, 2018, in Métabetchouan-Lac-à-la-Croix, 225 kilometers north of Quebec City, on the southern shore of Lac Saint-Jean, in Saguenay.

Quebec’s Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), the body that examines police interventions connected to deaths or injuries in the province, is investigating the chase and crash. They report that the man, who was driving a Honda Civic, was going 123 km/h when a police officer decided to follow him. One witness says that is when the driver sped up. No public explanation has been provided for why the officer decided to follow the vehicle. The BEI reports that the police chase lasted for about seven kilometers. One other person was slightly injured while another was treated for shock.

The BEI has assigned eight investigators to the case. The BEI is not an independent body and relies on other police forces for assistance with investigations.


Killer Cop Frédéric Fortier Made Critical Mistakes in Killing of Brandon Maurice: Policing Expert

The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) officer who killed 17-year-old Brandon Maurice has been identified as Constable Frédéric Fortier during the coroner’s inquest into the 2015 killing. An expert in police “use of force” strategies testified at the inquest that the provincial police officer made a number of critical mistakes. A witness to the killing, Chris Houle, who was in the car with Maurice when the teenager was shot has already testified that the shooting “should have been avoided.”

Constable Frédéric Fortier shot the unarmed Maurice at the end of a police chase through Messines, Québec. He and his partner, Constable Dave Constantin, were cleared of criminal wrong doing after an investigation, that was in no way independent and involved Montreal police in 2016.

The inquest has focused on how Fortier approached the car Maurice was driving at the end of a police pursuit. He approached aggressively with his gun drawn and decided to smash the driver’s-side window to open the car door.

Bruno Poulin, an expert with Quebec’s police academy, so not oppositional to police in any way, testified that the encounter should never have ended with that decision. According to Poulin, the officer narrowed his options by approaching the car overly aggressively and expecting he could physically force the driver from the car. A typical thug approach by police who expect they can impose their authority without question and, if necessary, kill to deal with any mess they create.

In Poulin’s words to the inquest: “He put himself in danger” (quoted in 2018). Poulin said it appears that SQ officers need some retraining. We know that training does nothing to change the power police hold in society and the fact that they can kill with impunity as part of the state’s assertion of its monopoly on violence.

In testimony the previous day Fortier acknowledged that he had gotten himself into trouble but said he would not change his decision to shoot.

Brandon Maurice’s family are considering civil action against the police.

 

Further Reading

Pfeffer, Amanda. 2018. “Expert Witness at Coroner’s Inquest Says Officer Who Shot Teen Made Mistakes.” CBC News. April 13. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/brandon-maurice-death-inquest-1.4617234