37 cases of alleged police abuse in Val-d'Or handed over to Crown

Quebec's director of criminal prosecutions will announce Friday whether the Crown will pursue charges related to dozens of complaints of alleged abuse involving Indigenous women at the hands of Quebec provincial police officers in Val-d'Or.

'Stunning' number of complaints following Radio-Canada probe into allegations of abuse by officers

Montreal police have been investigating allegations of abuse by Sûreté du Québec officers in Val-d'Or since last year. (CBC)

Quebec's director of criminal prosecutions (DPCP) will announce Friday whether the Crown will pursue charges related to dozens of complaints of alleged abuse involving Indigenous women at the hands of Quebec provincial police officers in Val-d'Or. 

Montreal police, which handled the investigation, turned over 37 files to prosecutors for review, the department said in a statement Monday.

The DPCP said it will inform complainants of its decision prior to holding a news conference Friday in Val-d'Or but declined to comment further.

'Stunning' number of complaints

Edith Cloutier, executive director of Val-d'Or's Native friendship centre, which has been supporting the alleged victims, was shocked by the number of reported cases.

Edith Cloutier is executive director of Val-d'Or's Native friendship centre. (CBC)
"One is a lot, so 37 is just as stunning, but we knew there were quite a few complaints," she said. 

"It's going to be a very difficult week."

Montreal police took over an investigation into allegations of police abuse in Val-d'Or in October 2015, after a report by Radio-Canada's investigative program Enquête uncovered alleged stories of sexual violence toward Aboriginal women in the community 600 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

In the aftermath of the report, more women came forward with their own allegations of police abuse.

The Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, Ghislain Picard, said people are anxious to hear the result of the investigation.

"Information has been somewhat sketchy in terms of the process," Picard said. "A lot of people were waiting [for this update], especially the families of the … women who went forward with the complaints."

The Sûreté du Québec declined to comment.

The cases involve allegations made prior to April 4, 2016, when the Quebec government expanded the scope of the investigation.

with files from Alison Northcott and Sarah Towle