Can Andre Marin get his hate-munch on for the Quebec Police or what?
Internal police probe called 'bogus'
Process derided after shooting of Montreal teen
Katherine Wilton, Canwest News Service
Published: Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Ontario's ombudsman says he has zero confidence in the Surete du Quebec's ability to impartially investigate the recent fatal shooting by Montreal police of a young Latino man.
Quebec's practice of having one police force investigate another is outdated and should be replaced by an independent civilian body to oversee incidents where a member of the public is seriously injured or killed by an officer, Andre Marin said.
But Quebec Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis has full confidence in the provincial police force's ability to investigate the shooting, spokeswoman Emelie Rouleau said Monday.
Rouleau added that Dupuis wouldn't comment on Marin's statements and would make no further statements on Quebec's investigative procedure while the probe continues into the death of Fredy Villanueva, 18.
The Surete du Quebec and the Montreal police brotherhood also declined to comment.
Marin said it's ridiculous that the Surete du Quebec waited almost a week before talking to the two Montreal police officers who were present when Villanueva was killed Aug. 9.
"When police investigate police, there is favouritism in the investigation," Marin told the Montreal Gazette's editorial board Monday. "It was seen right away in this case when they failed to interview the witness officer immediately."
Investigating police often use the trauma card and say they are giving the officers time to compose themselves, Marin said.
"It is completely bogus," he said of the practice, adding that it gives the officers time to consult with union lawyers.
In Ontario, a police witness would have been required to give a statement to the province's civilian Special Investigations Unit within 24 hours of a police shooting.
The SIU was established in 1990 after a rash of police shootings of young black men in Toronto. Marin was its director between 1996 and 1998.
The shooting of Villanueva sparked a riot the following evening.
Marin said he isn't sure when a civilian body will be established in Quebec because "there is a lack of political will to take on the powerful police unions."
"It takes a lot of political fortitude for a minister to say to rank-and-file police, 'I am in charge and I am going to be making the decisions,' " he said.
"The police union has a very powerful lobby with politicians, and I think in many instances the government is afraid of the police."
In Alberta, the solicitor general decides whether an investigation will be conducted by police or by an independent civilian unit.