No charges to be laid against Mtl. North police

By P.A. Sévigny on December 18, 2008

Following a two-month investigation and the intensive SQ (Sureté du Québec) inquiry into the shooting death of 18 year-old Montreal North teenager Freddy Villanueva, Québec Justice Official Louis Drouin recently confirmed no charges would be laid against SPVM constables Jean-Loup Lapointe and his partner, Stéphanie Pilote. Even so, Public Security Minister Jacques Dupuis insists a public inquiry must be held after the fact so as to “inform all the citizens as to the relevant facts” as to what really happened in Montreal North last summer.

“The minister isn’t serious,” said former municipal councilor Marcel Sévigny. “He knows nothing will come out of that inquiry because he knows it won’t affect the police inquiry’s conclusion.”

Speaking for the province’s department of public security, France Duguay agreed with Sévigny because Québec’s Justice Department considers the results of such police inquiries to be “final.”

“A public inquiry can only offer its recommendations,” she said, “…but it will have no effect upon a police department’s investigation and its own official inquiry.”

In the Villanueva case, Québec’s SQ handled the two month long investigation because the incident affected the SPVM (Service de la Police de la Ville de Montréal) which is a different police force. Its conclusion reports Freddy Villanueva was shot and killed when he and two other men attacked and overwhelmed SPVM constable Stéphanie Pilote after both she and Constable Jean-Loup Lapointe were swarmed and surrounded by at least 20 known and suspected street gang members. Lapointe, fearing Pilote’s weapon might be lost in the fray and used against the both of them, pulled his weapon and fired in what the inquiry considered to be a legitimate act of self-defense.

During a recent demonstration at last month’s regular city council meeting, Sévigny was among the handful of people who questioned the validity of the SQ’s investigation. As a nine year city police veteran, Sévigny also questioned the police inquiry’s conclusions because he knows better than most why the public has to maintain its guard against police brutality.

“Why do the police investigate the police,” he asked. “Who really knows what happened to Freddy Villanueva? Who knows what happened to Mohamad Anas Bennis? What really happened to Jean-Pierre Lizotte, Martin Suazo, and (most recently) Quillem Régistre?”

While Sévigny, a well known activist and senior citizen was dressed for the weather, others protesters were masked and shouting slogans while trying to get through the locked and chained doors leading to the city hall’s council chambers. As there were hardly more than 30 people at the demonstration, police outnumbered the protestors by a ratio of at least a three to one. After the protestors unfolded their banner on the front steps of city hall for the media’s photo opportunity, the police moved in and dispersed the crowd after which they all went home.



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