3 police officers charged following investigations by Quebec's police watchdog
BEI investigations have led to 6 officers being charged, but never in relation to police killings
Three more officers have been charged following investigations led by Quebec's police watchdog, bringing the total tally of officers charged with crimes following investigations by the independent agency to six.
CBC News confirmed the officers' identities and charges with Quebec's director of criminal and penal prosecutions after the Bureau des Enquêtes Indépendantes (BEI) quietly updated its website with the number of officers charged following investigations.
The BEI website currently says five officers have been charged, but a spokesperson for Quebec's prosecution service said that number is out of date, as a sixth officer has recently been charged.
The three latest officers to be charged are from three different police services.
Mathieu Paré of the Kativik Regional Police Force has been charged with:
- Two counts of assault with a weapon, including one count of assault with a weapon causing bodily harm.
- One count of obstruction of justice.
- One count of counselling someone to commit an indictable offence.
Pierre Luc Tremblay of the Régie Intermunicipale de Police Roussillon has been charged with one count of possession of child pornography, and Larry Jock of the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service was charged with one count of assault.
Neither the BEI nor the individual police services would give any additional information regarding what allegations led to the investigations and subsequent charges. The police organizations each declined to comment, saying that the cases are before the court.
The other three officers charged following BEI investigations were all charged with sexual assault.
- Two Quebec police officers charged with sexual assault, a first for provincial watchdog
- Montreal officer charged with sexual assault after investigation by Quebec's police watchdog
BEI has a dual mandate
The BEI is an arm's-length organization that was created as an independent body to help improve the public's confidence in policing.
As Quebec's police watchdog, the BEI has a dual mandate.
First, it investigates accusations of illegal activity by police officers.
Second, it investigates after a civilian is seriously hurt or killed during a police intervention.
Since its creation in 2016, the investigations leading to charges have been tied to allegations of illegal activity.
There have been 172 investigations into alleged police brutality after civilians were hurt or killed during police interventions, including the investigations that followed the deaths of Pierre Coriolan and Nicholas Gibbs, but to date, no charges have ever been laid.
Any incident where a firearm was discharged or where a person was killed or injured during a police intervention used to be investigated by a police service other than the one involved in the incident. The BEI was created, in part, to end the perception of police bias in these investigations.
Since then, the BEI itself has faced criticism because half of its investigators are former police officers.
Public security minister reaffirms her confidence in the BEI
Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault said Friday that the BEI is an independent body so her ministry does not interfere with its work, but she believes the organization functions well.
"I am confident that the BEI does great work," she said, noting that she met with the new director earlier this year.