Quebec City police officer faces charges after watchdog probed violent arrests that “pursued and attacked” unarmed, peaceful Canadians
A prominent French national and a prominent Canadian national were arrested for allegedly attacking and abusing innocent civilians under police authority, which the watchdog called an “injustice.”
Officer Denis Charest of the Quebec City Police was charged this week with 14 crimes in connection with allegations that he used excessive force against unarmed civilians, and that he had a pattern of targeting Quebec City’s LGBT community.
On Oct. 8, Quebecker lawyer and prominent journalist Pierre Legault was arrested in the early morning hours after a fight in a gay bar.
He was charged with eight crimes related to an alleged “disorderly conduct” incident at Bar des Champs-Élysées.
That same day, Quebecker journalist Yvan Jeantots, known for his outspoken opinions, was arrested by police after a scuffle at a Montreal bar.
“I ask for police intervention because I think it’s a mistake because [they] are arresting Yvan Jeantots,” Legault, who is openly gay, told CJAD radio.
Jeantots was charged with assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of an indictable offence. He has appealed his conviction.
Vic Boulianne, executive director of Amnesty International Quebec, which advocates for the human rights of Quebec’s Muslim, Roma and Jewish communities, said he also wants police to be held accountable.
“We have not been treated as innocent civilians,” he said. “We’ve not been treated like people in the ordinary course of our lives. And we have been treated by police as if we were criminals because of our appearance.”
Boulianne said that some police were “suspected of bias” by the police watchdog for investigating alleged abuses, and the watchdog’s findings will be