MONTREAL POLICE OFFICER SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY FOR EXCESSIVE FORCE, ILLEGAL ARREST OF BLACK MAN
Montreal, October 7, 2015 — In a decision made public yesterday, the Police Ethics Committee imposed 18 days of suspension without pay on a Montreal Police officer for using excessive force against a young Black man after unjustifiably stopping, detaining, arresting, and searching him in an incident that dates back to July 2012.
The officer will ultimately spend five days suspended because he will serve the five distinct penalties imposed on him concurrently.
Officer Maurice Robitaille violently punched, pepper-sprayed and arrested David Daumec after stopping him in Pointe-aux-Trembles. Mr. Daumec was talking with his girlfriend in his car in the wee hours of the morning. The police were looking for suspects in a shooting at a party a couple of blocks away. Even though Mr. Daumec's car did not match the description of the suspects' vehicle, the officers intercepted him, alleged that he was drunk, and arrested him.
They charged him with obstruction of justice, failure to heed an officer's order and refusal to take an alcohol test. They also impounded his car and suspended his driver's license, which caused Daumec to lose his job.
Three years later, Mr. Daumec’s criminal trial is still ongoing.
In addition to a police ethics complaint, Mr. Daumec mandated CRARR to file a complaint of racial profiling with the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission. In the complaint, CRARR claimed for Mr. Daumec major damages against the City and Officer Robitaille.
The Commission, however, dismissed Daumec’s case in 2014 after wrongly concluding that it was prescribed (filed too late). It came to this conclusion after disregarding a medical report and a decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal clearly showing that a later prescription deadline applied to Mr. Daumec because he suffered physical injuries. Under the current law, bodily injuries extend the time limit for a civil action against a city and its police officers from six months to three years. CRARR drew the Commission’s attention to its mistake during its investigation. Nevertheless, the Commission arbitrarily closed Daumec’s file.
Mr. Daumec has filed for judicial review of the Commission's decision before the Superior Court. He is also claiming $15,000 in damages against the Commission for negligence and bad faith in handling his complaint.
CRARR’s Executive Director Fo Niemi highlighted that this case is significant for two reasons. “First, this case shows that we still have a serious problem police mistreatment of Black Montrealers. Racial profiling, abusive arrest and excessive force directed at Black men are major challenges for Police Chief Philippe Pichet, because they are ongoing.”
”Second, the case shows that our police ethics system needs reform. Mr. Daumec has had to spend thousands of dollars to defend himself in criminal court and take legal action against the Human Rights Commission because it failed to treat his racial profiling complaint in compliance with the law. Where is the justice in that?”, he said.