A policeman blamed by the police ethics committee for a forceful statement made on the terrace of a bar in Montreal at the height of the student protests of the “Maple Spring” in 2012.
The intervention occurred May 20, 2012, at the bar on St. Bock on Saint-Denis Street, in the city center.
Citizens and the bar owner, Martin Guimond, filed suit against the police department of the city of Montreal (SPVM).
Four SPVM officers were cited before the Police Ethics Committee. But according to the committee’s decision, dated June 17, only one police officer has violated the Code of Ethics and two counts of breach are against him. The second, however, was suspended because stemmed from the same event as the first.
According to the facts reported in the decision, the police action in question took place at the 26th night student demonstration. A fire had been lit in the center of the intersection by Saint-Denis and Ontario, which was used for construction. Protesters fed it a host of items including orange cones.
The police had made arrests on St. Denis. A protester who tried to flee took refuge on the terrace bar on St. Bock, near the fire, where customers attended the event, some encouraging protesters chanting slogans then usual.
By going to the manifest on the terrace after being run a chair and glasses, police used irritating gases on the crowded terrace, which forced customers to flee to bang inside bar. Many were greatly inconvenienced. The protester was extirpated from the terrace and then stopped on the sidewalk. Another irritant jet was launched on the few people still present on the terrace.
The Committee notes that most police acted within the rules of art and the first two gas jets were justified in the circumstances.
But he believes that one of them, Sergeant Claude Provost, was the last gas firing unnecessarily and unnecessary and thus committed an abuse of authority.
“The panel concludes that the respondent Provost used his weapon without prudence and discernment in an excessive gesture and the head height of its target and shot without being justified to do so,” it is written in the committee’s decision, stressing that the remaining people there posed no threat.