More aboriginal women allege abuse by police in Val-d'Or, Que.
New complaints come 1 day after Radio-Canada airs allegations of sex assault
Leaders of First Nations community centres in Quebec say more aboriginal women are coming forward with abuse complaints — one day after Radio-Canada's investigative program Enquête aired a story about aboriginal women in Val-d'Or alleging they were sexually assaulted by provincial police officers.
Women told Enquête that police officers routinely picked up women who appeared to be intoxicated, drove them out of town and left them to walk home in the cold. Some allege they were physically assaulted or made to perform sex acts.
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Since the program aired Thursday night, eight officers allegedly involved are under investigation and have either been put on leave or transferred to administrative duty.
Quebec Public Safety Minister Lise Thériault announced today that an investigation will be carried out by Montreal police, not the Sûreté du Québec, so that officers would not be investigating members of their own force. Thériault also suggested the government may launch an inquiry into the matter.
Montreal police issued a statement Friday to say investigators will meet with the complainants, and are asking anyone with information about the allegations to come forward.
"The SPVM invites anyone who wishes to share information on this dossier to contact investigators at 1-844-615-3118," the statement read.
The force would not say if any other women have come forward.
The Quebec Native Women's Association said it expects there will be more complaints.
"These are things that aboriginal women have been talking about with each other and talking about with us, our association, for years," Boileau said.
"This is the first time they are talking about it face to face with journalists and we absolutely salute their courage. It's not an easy thing to do ... We hope that aboriginal women who come out have the support and the services they need, as well as their families, and we also hope the women feel safe coming out with these stories."