Montreal

SQ officer suspended 35 days without pay for firing plastic bullets into crowd at 2012 protest

Police ethics committee ruled in January that Const. Denis Burelle acted without "prudence, judgment."

Police ethics committee ruled in January that Const. Denis Burelle acted without 'prudence, judgement'

SQ officer Denis Burelle at the student protest in Victoriaville, Que., in 2012. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

The police ethics commission has sanctioned Sûreté du Québec Const. Denis Burelle to 35 days without pay for shooting plastic bullets into a crowd of protesters in Victoriaville in 2012. 

The commission heard Burelle's case and decided in January that he acted without "prudence and judgment," adding that his actions led to several injuries.

Burelle, a member of the riot squad, was stationed in front of the Victoriaville Convention Centre where the provincial Liberal Party's general council meeting was being held on May 4, 2012.

He fired 10 plastic bullets in a span of 30 minutes as protesters were throwing rocks and other projectiles at police.

AR-1 plastic bullets can achieve a speed of up to 266 km/h and are recommended for use subduing dangerous parties at a distance.

The report noted that Burelle had never used his weapon in the field before and that he began firing before he was actually given the go-ahead by his superiors.

Dominique Laliberté-Martineau was hit by a projectile at the protest. (Facebook/Carl Lapriz)

The committee found that at least three protesters were injured as a result, including Dominique Laliberté-Martineau, who ended up with a broken jaw.

Another protester, Alexandre Allard, was hit in the head with a projectile and suffered a cranial fracture and a concussion.

Quebec provincial police arrested 106 people that day and half a dozen were injured, with one protester sustaining head injuries and requiring eye surgery as a result.

The number of days of suspension for improper use of a weapon by a police officer is two to 60 days.