Montreal police accused of closing ranks over officer's alleged road rage

Jeffery Pokora says Montreal police didn't do enough to investigate after an offf-duty officer rammed "his truck backwards into my car."

Police Cmdr. Ian Lafrenière says investigation done, more to story than video suggests

Off-duty officer slams into car

7 years ago
Duration 1:20
A Montreal man describes an alleged road rage incident involving a driver he didn't know was an off-duty cop.

Montreal police haven't done enough to investigate an alleged case of road rage involving one of its officers, says a local man.

Jeffery Pokora wound up facing charges after an off-duty police officer in an SUV allegedly backed into his car twice. A video of the incident that occurred in January was posted on an anti-police brutality website.

Montreal police confirmed they investigated the incident, but say there's more to the story than the video suggests.

Pokora, who spoke exclusively to CBC News, said he decided to come forward after his life was turned "upside down" by the incident. 

"After 10 months of therapy, I started realizing I need to start holding people accountable. Just like our politicians, everybody is accountable," he said. 

"I started to have this thought of accountability, and that's when my energy came back."

Man followed vehicle

Pokora said the incident happened after he saw an SUV roll through a stop sign and pass him on the left-hand side of the road in Montreal's LaSalle borough, at the corner of 90th Avenue and LaSalle Boulevard.

It was a cold, snowy night and Pokora said he followed the vehicle's tracks to a house.

He said he was concerned by the driver's actions "that either he might be a drunk driver, he might be on drugs or even worse, road rage."

Pokora said he didn't know the man was a police officer at the time, and the man never told him he was. 

"I wasn't looking for anything," he said. "I just wanted to talk to the guy to see if I could get an inclination as to his behaviour ... It felt to me like he was trying to direct the situation. Like, 'What, are you following me? Are you harassing me?' And I'm like, 'What? No!'"

'It was chaotic'

That's when, according to Pokora, "it got scary."

Pokora said he put his hand in his pocket to reach for his cellphone, and "he starts saying, 'Oh, oh, do you have a gun? Are you going to hurt me?' I was like, 'What? Pfft!'"

Fearing for his safety, Pokora said he went back to his car to call 911 and parked his own car behind the truck to prevent the driver from leaving.

Struggling to hold back tears, Pokora described what happened next.

"He then floored his truck backwards into my car, and at that point I got so scared," he said. "It was chaotic."

Pokora said he drove away, and the SUV followed him for several blocks.

He said he sped through stop signs trying to get away until, down the road, he and the SUV driver came upon a mass of police cars. 

"I got out of my car," he said. "They got out of their cars, and I pointed and said, 'That's him, that's him.' ... I wanted to charge the car because of what he did, but I didn't. Police charged me, put a gun in my face and said, 'No, you get down on the ground.'"

Pokora said he was then detained.

He was later charged with harassment and intimidation in connection to the incident. He is to appear in court on Jan. 21, 2016.

Pokora filed a complaint with police internal affairs but said he hasn't heard back.

No charges have been laid against the officer.

More to story, police say

Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafrenière said the video doesn't tell the whole story.

"Let's put that this way.... If we have a sense that the action was not OK, or there could've been a problem, the officer could've been suspended," Lafrenière said.

"And now I'm telling you, he's still working for us."

Lafrenière said the investigation has wrapped up, and it's now up to the prosecutor's office to determine whether any charges are warranted in the case.