Minister downplays calls for independent inquiry of Montreal police
Published Thursday, February 23, 2017 12:30PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 23, 2017 7:40PM EST
Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux is not interested in calling a public inquiry into the actions of the Montreal police department, and said he has full confidence the SQ can do the task.
Parti Quebecois leader Jean-Francois Lisée disagrees, saying the Sureté du Quebec should not be trusted to investigate the Montreal police.
The police force is going through a crisis of confidence in the fallout from the scandal involving former officers, said Lisée, adding that the allegations made this week by former SPVM investigators on TVA program ‘J.E.’ and on CTV are signs that matters are definitely not going well with the Montreal police.
Two former investigators told CTV Wednesday that their attempt to blow the whistle on illegal practices at the SPVM concerning organized crime investigations was met with hostility by internal affairs.
Jimmy Cacchione and Giovanni Di Feo accused the internal affairs division of fabricating evidence to silence whistleblowers.
Their allegations are being corroborated by other officers.
Pietro Poletti spent 29 years with the SPVM, at times working with Cacchione and Di Feo.
He believes they were pushed out of the force because other officers were jealous.
"Is it jealousy, envy? I don't know. When you're on squads, who's got more informants," said Poletti.
Poletti has been a victim of rivalry, saying his career suffered after he was accused of being too close to the mobsters he was investigating.
"The individuals that are involved and are Italian, they'd rather communicate with an Italian officer. Why? We understand the culture," he said.
But despite helping identify and neutralize a van filled with explosives in 2004, he says Internal Affairs tried to discredit his work.
"The way they do it is they start rumours and allegations to get rid of you," said Poletti.
On Wednesday Montreal police chief Philippe Pichet called on the SQ to investigate Montreal police.
But the PQ is arguing police should not investigate police, and the inquiry should instead be carried out by the Independent Bureau of Investigators, which was mandated to step in on investigations involving police.
Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux, however, said the SQ is perfectly capable of doing the job because they have the expertise required.
He said he believes the provincial police department is independent enough to investigate their Montreal colleagues and that they will use outside expertise from the Crown prosecutor's office and even the RCMP if necessary.
Coiteux does not to see a possible conflict of interest of having one police force investigate another.
“Let's have the investigation start. And they've already started, because they're putting in place everything possible to do it and totally independently with the best resources and with exceptional measures. And we'll see the result,” he said.