SQ officer faces 35-day suspension for firing plastic bullets into crowd at 2012 protest

Const. Denis Burelle could face a 35-day suspension without pay using his firearm to shoot plastic bullets at protesters during a student protest in 2012.

Number of days of suspension for improper use of a weapon by a police officer is between two to 60 days

SQ officer Denis Burelle at the student protest in Victoriaville, Que., in 2012. He is facing suspension for his actions that day. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

Sûreté du Québec Const. Denis Burelle is facing a 35-day suspension, without pay, for shooting plastic bullets at protesters during a student protest in 2012. 

Burelle's lawyer, André Fiset, and prosecutor Michel Desgroseillers presented the joint punishment suggestion to the police ethics committee at a hearing Monday.

In January, Burelle was reprimanded by the committee for firing plastic bullets into a crowd at a Maple Spring protest in Victoriaville.

The ruling noted that Burelle lacked "prudence and judgment," pointing out that he seriously injured protesters when he used his firearm to shoot plastic bullets without permission from his superiors. 

Burelle fired 10 plastic bullets in a span of 30 minutes as protesters were throwing rocks and other projectiles at police.

The committee found at least three protesters were injured those bullets, including Dominique Laliberté-Martineau, who ended up with a broken jaw.

Desgroseillers said Burelle was a "public danger" during the demonstration.

Fiset argued that Burelle hasn't any prior run-ins with the ethics commission and that he has not used a weapon since the incident in Victoriaville.

The chair of the Committee has taken the case under advisement and will make an official decision regarding Burelle's suspension at a later date.

The number of days of suspension for improper use of a weapon by a police officer is two to 60 days.