The Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, is investigating the death of a man during a police drug raid in Laval, Quebec on March 29, 2018. The BEI reports that according to initial information, a 36-year-old man died after falling from a seventh floor apartment building during the raid. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The BEI is not independent of police and relies on officers from other forces for its investigations.
Tag Archives: Quebac
Chris Houle, the person who directly witnessed the police shooting of 17-year-old Brandon Maurice told a coroner’s inquest that it should never have happened. Houle saw the entire interaction from the passenger seat of Maurice’s car. A Sûreté du Québec (SQ), Quebec provincial police, officer shot Maurice as the teen sat in the vehicle’s driver’s seat in the early morning hours of November 16, 2015. The Inquest started in April, 2018.
Said Houle, during his testimony before chief coroner Catherine Rudel-Tessier on April 10: “I may not know a lot about law and police processes; I’m not an expert. But this should have been avoided” (quoted in Pfeffer 2018). The young witness testified over a day and a half.
The killing occurred after a police chase ended about 10 kilometers at chemin de la Ferme and rue Patry, close to Lac Blue Sea in the municipality of Messines, Quebec. Houle testified that he and Maurice sat in the car as an officer approached the driver’s side with his gun drawn. At some point the officer smashed the window and reached into the car. Some type of struggle ensued over the opening of the car door. The officer fired his gun at Maurice shooting the teenager at point-blank range.
Brandon Maurice died in hospital. The pathologist who carried out the autopsy testified at the inquest that Maurice died from a fatal bullet wound through this neck.
Family and friends of Maurice have long insisted that police used excessive force during the encounter and have demanded answers about what happened that day and why police acted the way they did. The officer responsible was not charged for the killing, a typical and in no way surprising outcome when police kill civilians in Canada. The state protects the state.
There is no investigation of police in Quebec that could in any way be considered independent or autonomous. Incredibly Montreal police were asked by Quebec’s police “watchdog,” Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI), to conduct an investigation after the killiing. This is not independence. Not surprisingly that “investigation” decided not to charge the officer. In fact the Montreal investigators were allowed to testify at the inquest.
Pfeffer, Amanda. 2018. “Police Shooting Witness Tells Inquest Teen’s Death “Should Have Been Avoided.” CBC News. April 10. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/brandon-maurice-inquest-tuesday-1.4613032
It is extremely rare for police officers to be so much as charged in any case where they kill a civilian. Where they are charged it us usually for a lesser associated offense. Convictions for any offense related to killing civilians are obviously even less common. On January 27, 2017, a rare conviction of a killer cop was arrived at in a Québec court for a killing almost five years earlier. François Laurin, an officer with Sûreté du Québec, the provincial police force was found guilty of dangerous driving causing death in the killing of 25-year-old Éric Rompré.
Officer Laurin was responding to an emergency call on June 16, 2012 when his speeding vehicle slammed into another car on Highway 148 near Papineauville, Québec. The victim in the crash was Éric Rompré the driver of the car hit by Laurin. The officer was travelling at the extreme speed of 180 km/h when he crashed into the victim’s vehicle. Incredibly the dire matter of great public safety and security that had Laurin travelling at such dangerous speed was meeting a colleague on the force to help transport an intoxicated person at Rockfest in nearby Montebello. The Crown in the case questioned why Laurin felt the need to travel at such a high speed for a call of that banal nature.
Laurin’s lawyers tried a common, and often successful ploy, in cases where an officer is actually charged with an offense. They attempted to have the trial set aside because of delays between the filing of charges and the start of court proceedings. In the Canadian context prosecutors have seen the commencement of trials for police stalled leading to the dropping of charges.