The decision not to charge Montreal police officers in the shooting death of a homeless, mentally ill man last February suggests police “are not responsible” for their actions anymore, the man’s brother says.
Pierre Magloire spoke to CBC Radio’s Daybreak about yesterday's decision by the Quebec's chief Crown prosecutor not to lay charges in the killing of his brother, Alain Magloire, 41.
Magloire was shot and killed by Montreal police officers outside the Berri bus station in downtown Montreal on Feb. 3.
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At the time, officers said he was wielding a hammer in a threatening manner and refused to co-operate.
The shooting was investigated by Quebec’s provincial police force, the Sûreté du Québec. It is standard practice that another police force investigate whenever a police weapon is discharged or a civilian is hurt in the course of a police intervention.
The Crown prosecutor’s decision not to charge the officers who shot Magloire was based on evidence from the SQ investigation.
Brother "sad and mad"
Pierre Magloire said he had "mixed emotions" about the decision not to press charges.
“I’m sad and mad at the same time. I was expecting a trial to seek the truth, to find out what really happened,” he told Daybreak.
He called the decision “strange” – and worrisome.
“Nobody’s responsible anymore. When you’re a doctor or a lawyer, you’re responsible for your actions. You’re liable for what you’re doing. Police are not reliable, they’re not responsible for anything anymore,” he said.
Magloire said the Crown's decision sends the wrong message.
“When you have a policeman shooting four times in a row, in the arm, shoulder and liver and then the heart — but you’re not responsible? Excuse me, you’re responsible. Or at least the system is responsible for teaching you to shoot like that at a person,” he told Daybreak.
Beyond seeking justice, Magloire said he wanted a trial so that police procedures could be brought to light and, if necessary, corrected.
“I wanted Montreal police to change the way they’re acting with homeless people. That’s the only thing I was looking for,” he said.
Alain Magloire had only ended up living on the street in the months just prior to his death, as a result of mental illness.
He had two daughters and many friends, and before his illness he had been employed in the field of molecular biology research.
Coroner Jean Brochu also renewed the call for Montreal police officers to be equipped with Tasers.
Renewed call for independent investigations of police
Pierre Magloire echoed calls for an end to police investigations of other police forces in such cases, a position held by Quebec’s coroner, Quebec’s Human Rights Commission and the province’s ombudsman, among others.
Previous Quebec governments have promised to create an independent police oversight agency, but it has never happened.
“We need a third party to investigate these situations. I would like a commission, an expert inquiry but not policemen investigating other policemen,” he said.