POLICE ETHICS COMMITTEE ORDERS CITATIONS AGAINST OFFICER FOR ILLEGAL USE OF FORCE AND ARREST OF ARAB DRIVER
Montreal, October 14, 2015 — The Police Ethics Committee has ordered three citations against a Montreal Police Officer for mistreating an Arab driver. The citations are for illegal arrest, illegal use of force, and requiring the payment of a deposit without explaining why.
The case dates back to July 2012. Mr. K.E., a Palestinian-Canadian, has chronic back pain requiring him to walk with a cane. He moved from Alberta back to Quebec several months before the incident.
Officer S.V. intercepted Mr. K.E. at the intersection of Crémazie and Acadie for crossing a solid line. The officer informed Mr. K.E. in French that he would be issued a ticket, but Mr. K.E. did not understand because he only speaks English. Then, when Mr. K.E. presented an Alberta driver’s license, Officer S.V. demanded that Mr. K.E. make a deposit equivalent to the three fines. Mr. K.E. was not carrying any cash and did not understand why he had to pay the fines immediately. Then, with the help of another officer, Officer S.V. suddenly and violently dragged the disabled Mr. K.E. out of his car, placing him under arrest. Mr. K.E.’s car was towed.
The officers took Mr. K.E. to the police station where he was required to make a $800.00 deposit with a credit card. Mr. K.E. still didn’t understand why he had to pay the deposit before he could contest the tickets. The Municipal Court eventually dismissed two of the three tickets.
The ordeal did not end there. The Montreal Police Service apparently reported Mr. K.E. to the Quebec Medicare Insurance Board (RAMQ). A Board investigator visited Mr. K.E. approximately two months after the incident. It has not, however, proceeded with any charges against Mr. K.E.
Mr. K.E. filed a complaint with the Police Ethics Commissioner against Officer S.V. and his colleague, and, with CRARR’s assistance, a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission.
In January 2015, the Police Ethics Commissioner dismissed Mr. K.E.’s complaint. With CRARR’s help, Mr. K.E. applied to the Police Ethics Committee to have this dismissal reviewed. In September 2015, the Committee set aside a part of the Commissioner’ decision, ruling that according to evidence in the file, Officer S.V. required Mr. K.E. to make a deposit before actually issuing any tickets against him. This explained Mr. K.E.’s confusion and justified his refusal to pay. It also made the use of force and arrest of Mr. K.E. illegal.
The Committee ordered the Commissioner to cite Officer S.V. for three breaches of the Code of Ethics for Police Officers. A hearing concerning the citations will take place in 2016.
“This case is disturbing,” said Mr. Fo Niemi CRARR’s Executive Director. “We are pleased that the Committee ordered citations against the police officer as it saw certain troubling evidence which the Commissioner obviously failed to see.”
The case also raises the issue of police treatments of people with physical disabilities, which will be examined more in depth in the civil rights complaint to the human rights commission.