London

London cop pleads guilty to kicking, punching woman while she was in restraints

A London police sergeant pleaded guilty to three Police Services Act charges for an incident involving a young drunk woman in 2016.

Sergeant Peter Paquette told victim he would 'punch you in the face again if I have to'

The incident happened inside London police headquarters on September 6, 2016 (Kate Dubinski/ CBC News)

A London police sergeant pleaded guilty to three Police Services Act charges for an incident involving a young drunk woman two years ago inside police headquarters. 

Sgt. Peter Paquette, 50, admitted to kicking the victim multiple times and yelling at her after she was arrested for being drunk in public, assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest and damaging property on September 6, 2016.

Ret. OPP Supt. Morris Elbers, the hearings officer who oversaw the disciplinary procedures on Friday, ruled to suspend the longtime officer without pay for 25 days, the equivalent of 200 hours.

"There is no excuse for the actions of Sgt. Paquette. The actions were inappropriate and serious," said Patty Malone, the lawyer for the London police. 

Punched in face

According to the agreed statement of facts, the victim was in the detention unit going through the booking process when Paquette was on duty. She refused to answer questions, became agitated and began striking her head against the wall.

Officers restrained her on the ground to prevent injury, the document states, at which point she struggled and kicked one of the constables. 

"Sergeant Paquette approached the victim while she was being held by three officers, and kicked her in the lower back stating, 'Smarten up,'" the statement read.

Paquette then grabbed the woman by the arms, and as he was carrying her to the restraining stretcher, she bit his left hand. 

"Sergeant Paquette then threw the victim on the stretcher and punched her in the face once with a closed hammer fist," the document states. 

More kicks to the back

The officer left to get another restraining strap and when he returned, he kicked the victim in the back and buttocks says "you want to bite me?"Mobile users: View the document
(PDF KB)
(Text KB)
CBC is not responsible for 3rd party content

The incident continued with an "inappropriate verbal exchange" where Paquette advised the victim he would "punch you in the face again if I have to."

The victim did not suffer any broken bones but bruising was present after the incident and the woman was transported to hospital. 

On Friday, Paquette read aloud from an apology to the victim, her family and friends, and to his colleagues. 

"I sincerely apologize. I deeply regret how my actions have affected you," he said in a low, steady tone. 

"I wish I had lived up to the high high expectations set for police officers. I have let my family, my colleagues and my friends down...I apologize from the bottom of my heart." 

Criminal conviction

Paquette was convicted on December 20, 2017 of one count of assault. He was sentenced to a 2-year conditional discharge, counselling and 100 hours of community service, which he's completed.

Prior to Friday's Police Services Board ruling, the officer had been on the payroll performing administrative duties. 

He is working with a psychologist and doctor, the hearing heard. 

Mobile users: View the document
(PDF KB)
(Text KB)
CBC is not responsible for 3rd party content