Police officer under fire for threatening to tie homeless man to pole
Published Thursday, January 2, 2014 10:03PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 3, 2014 6:26PM EST
MONTREAL - A video posted online Thursday depicting a police officer threatening to tie a disoriented, under-dressed man to a pole on the intensely cold afternoon has led many to denounce the officer's approach.
The encounter was recorded at about 3:00 p.m. on Jan. 2 outside the Jean Talon metro station.
It was posted online by a YouTube contributor named Omar Tunisiano, according to a description accompanying the video.
The 52-second video concludes with the cameraman intervening in defense of the homeless man.
Later that evening Mayor Denis Coderre reacted to the video and Tweeted his intention to follow up as a response:
"The words spoken by the police officer are unacceptable. Police Commandant is taking the necessary measures. I am concerned about the condition of the homeless person now," wrote Coderre on Twitter.
Coderre wasn’t the only one who felt the officer’s actions were unacceptable – so did his superiors.
Police representative Ian Lafreniere told CTV Montreal that the approach taken towards the homeless man was "unacceptable" and that the officer could face discipline.
The officer will meet with his commanding officers on Jan. 3 to discuss discipline. Action against him could range from a verbal warning to a suspension.
“This is not what we expect from our police officers,” said Lafreniere. "I can't tell you right now whether his (the officer's) intention was to do what he threatened to do, but the end result is very sad.”
He said that the situation cast a regrettable shadow over the hard work police volunteers have been doing to ensure safety of vulnerable people during the most recent cold stretch.
Lafreniere said that officers from the special Psycho-Social Emergency Squad located the man Friday night and persuaded him to get to the hospital.
"He is well," said Lafreniere.
One advocate for the homeless said that the incident was unfortunate, especially during the scene near the end of the short video, "“where he kind of blew a fuse and made a boneheaded remark and an unacceptable threat, that was the worst part,” said Matthew Pearce of the Old Brewery Mission.
“It raises all kinds of questions that the police have been trying to put to rest for some time now. They had been, in the past few years, heavily criticized for the ways they’ve been dealing with the homeless population,” he said.
-- with files from The Canadian Press
An unidentified Montreal police officer is seen speaking to a homeless man in this image taken from a YouTube video uploaded by Omar Tunisiano.
This image, taken from a YouTube video shot in Montreal on Thursday, shows a police officer speaking harshly to a homeless person.