Maxence Valade sues Sûreté du Québec after losing eye

Maxence Valade says he lost his eye in 2012 after being struck by a rubber bullet fired by Quebec provincial police. Now he's seeking $250,000 in damages.

Student protester alleges he was struck by a rubber bullet fired by police

Maxence Valade, pictured here with a prosthetic eye, says he was struck by a rubber bullet fired by a Quebec provincial police officer. (Radio-Canada)

A 23-year-old student who lost an eye at demonstration three years ago in Victoriaville, Que. is taking legal action against Quebec provincial police, Radio-Canada has learned.

Maxence Valade alleges he was hit in the face by a rubber bullet fired by a Sûreté du Québec officer while taking part in a May 2012 protest against tuition fee hikes outside a Quebec Liberal Party meeting.

The Université du Québec à Montréal student said he suffered head trauma following the incident and had to undergo four surgeries. He now has a prosthetic eye.

"I can’t use my eye anymore," Valade told Sue Smith on CBC's Homerun. "The police caused me a big trauma psychologically and physically."

Valade is suing the force for $250,000 in damages.

I want to create something so that we’re not silent anymore in front of that violence that police are creating here in Quebec," said Valade. 

"I wanted it to be not only my legal procedures but also a common one because we need to understand that these non-lethal arms can kill."

The SQ declined to comment, saying the case was before the courts.

In 2012, the SQ said Valade was injured before the protest. It also said any projectile that struck Valade wasn't theirs.

The province's police ethics commission issued a report a year after the incident. The report is still being studied.

Civil rights lawyer Julius Grey is representing Valade in the case. 

He claims the injury was caused by excessive force. 

"We're putting forward that this is much too much and that this kind of projectile should not have been present," said Grey.

Grey said he believes this court case will help establish what protesters can expect when they attend a demonstration, as well as what level of force is acceptable for police to use. 

"This case will establish certain norms that will be useful to demonstrators and indeed to police to know what the limits are, and I think the limits were breached," said Grey. 

He said police should use force only to control crowds in the most extreme cases.