Politics

Freeland condemns police brutality after altercation between police and Senegalese diplomat

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is condemning police brutality in the wake of an allegedly violent altercation between Gatineau police officers and a Senegalese diplomat.

Senegal says Gatineau police were responsible for 'humiliating physical and moral violence'

Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has addressed the Aug. 2, 2022, altercation between officers of the Gatineau Police Service and a diplomat with the Embassy of Senegal in Ottawa, becoming the first federal minister to do so. (The Canadian Press)

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland is condemning police brutality in the wake of an allegedly violent altercation between Gatineau police officers and a Senegalese diplomat. 

Last week, Senegal's government alleged Gatineau, Que., police exercised "humiliating physical and moral violence" on the diplomat by handcuffing and beating her in an altercation that ended with the diplomat's hospitalization.

The Gatineau Police Service say that a person punched one officer and bit another during the Aug. 2 incident. 

On Monday, Freeland was asked what about the incident was unacceptable and whether Canada has apologized to Senegal. Senegal's government had called on Ottawa to "vigorously denounce and strongly condemn this racist and barbaric act."

"Any instance of brutality, of police brutality, towards anyone in our country, whether they are a Canadian or a visitor or a diplomat, is, of course, entirely unacceptable," Freeland said.

"That's something our government is clear on. And I want to assure all Canadians and all diplomats who are here that we're very, very clear on that."

WATCH | Deputy Prime Minister comments on alleged beating of Senegalese diplomat by police

Deputy Prime Minister comments on alleged beating of Senegalese diplomat by police

2 months ago
Duration 0:58
During a press conference in Ontario, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said that any acts of police brutality are unacceptable in Canada.

Freeland was the first Canadian federal minister to address the incident.

Global Affairs Canada issued a statement over the weekend saying it was "extremely concerned" by police's alleged treatment of the diplomat, calling the incident "simply unacceptable." Quebec's Ministry of Public Security said a police complaint against the diplomat was dropped "due to the applicable diplomatic immunity."

CBC News reached out to Global Affairs Canada to ask about a possible apology to Senegal. The department pointed to a Tuesday afternoon tweet indicating Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly spoke with her Senegalese counterpart, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad Aïssata Tall Sall, earlier in the day.

"Canada looks forward to a full investigation," the tweet read.

Quebec's police watchdog is now investigating the officers' conduct, starting by requesting copies of the reports made in the wake of the incident.

The Gatineau Police Service has said it won't make any further comments while the watchdog investigation unfolds.

On Monday, Quebec's minister responsible for the Outaouais region, Mathieu Lacombe, said he hopes "light will be shed on this [incident]" following the investigation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Guy Quenneville

Reporter at CBC Ottawa, originally from Cornwall, Ont.

Story tips? Email me at guy.quenneville@cbc.ca or DM me @gqinott on Twitter.

with files from the Canadian Press and Radio-Canada

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