Five Montreal police officers were sanctioned during 2017 undressing

One of the officers involved was also suspended for two days for mocking the Muslim’s faith during the intervention.

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Five Montreal police officers have been sanctioned by Quebec’s police ethics commission for unnecessarily searching for a man they arrested for being intoxicated in public.

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One of the officers involved was also suspended for two days without pay for mocking the Muslim’s faith, telling another officer “there will be no 12 maidens in heaven” for him.

The arrest in question dates from January 2017. The man, named only as “Mr. D” in the recent verdict, called police that night after an argument in a fast food restaurant.

When police arrived, officers found him drunk in the middle of the street. They did a tap-down search and handcuffed him, deciding to bring him to a functional center for a few hours to allow him to sober up.

Driving him to the center, police say he wandered incoherently, insulted them and related to his religion. Sometimes, officers say, the man threatened to return to the center with a bomb – all claims the man later denied during the proceedings.

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Once at the center, a video recording captured one of the officers involved, Sheila Parker, talking to a senior officer, Christian Houle, while he was searching for the man at a reservation.

In the video, Parker is heard joking that the man must be related to one of their colleagues who shares the same family name. She then relays what she claims he said about the bomb, before a reference to his religion.

“Yes, so what’s the matter with him again?” No, there won’t be 12 maidens in heaven, “she heard him say before Houle stopped her and said,” it’s 72 maidens. “

According to the verdict, at the mention of the word “maidens”, the man became angry, making the search difficult. It is at this point Houle decided that he should be put in a cell and more thoroughly searched.

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In the cell, while he was still handcuffed, four officers held the man face down to the floor while another searched for him.

When they removed the two pants he was wearing to search his pockets, they noticed that he was not wearing underwear. They then removed all his clothes and searched for them, except for a shirt. Only once left alone and locked in the cell did he receive trousers to put on.

In his verdict, administrative judge Sylvie Séguin recalled that searches should be conducted only if necessary and should be conducted in the least intrusive manner possible. Officers should also reassess what they are doing every step of the way, she wrote, which they failed to do in this case.

Séguin also questioned why the officers even felt the need to look for the man again in the cell: they had already searched him during his arrest and did so again at the reservation.

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“The police officers were not faced with a risk of injury or imminent danger,” Séguin wrote. “On the contrary, Mr. D is disorganized, but he physically attacks no one and he is handcuffed, so limited in his moves.”

As for the comments about his religion, during the proceedings, it was argued, Parker simply repeated what the man had said in the patrol car. Séguin rejected the argument.

“This reasoning is shocking,” she ruled. “Police should report what is necessary and should not seek to mock or ridicule a citizen.”

Séguin found the officers guilty in May, but judged on the sanctions they should have received last month.

On October 19, the five officers who took part in the search – Houle, Parker, Valérie Hébert, Julie Chalin-Therrien and Dominic Côté – were reprimanded by the committee, one of the least severe of the six penalties it can impose. .

Parker was also suspended for two days without pay for her comments on the man’s religion, while Houle received an additional rebuke for his.

Reached for comment Thursday, the Montreal police department declined to comment on the decision.

jfeith@postmedia.com

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