Teen to sue Trois-Rivieres police after brutal arrest caught on video
Published Friday, February 22, 2013 12:26PM EST
Last Updated Friday, February 22, 2013 7:07PM EST
MONTREAL—A teenaged robbery suspect has filed a civil suit against Trois-Rivieres police after he was beaten during an arrest.
The arrest was captured on surveillance video from the nearby CEGEP de Trois-Rivieres, it shows a quartet of police officers running up to a man lying face first in the snow, surrendering. The officers then begin kicking and punching the man repeatedly for 30 seconds.
Alexis Vadeboncoeur, 19, stated in court Thursday that he was seriously injured from repeated kicks to his testicles and that a female officer grabbed his scrotum and squeezed.
His lawyer, Rene Duval, said that despite repeated requests for medical attention, Vadeboncoeur has yet to see a doctor.
"When he was brought to the police station he requested medical assistance, and no medical assistance was provided to him," said Duval.
"He's telling me that since he's been in detention he's asked many times—in writing because that's the way it should be done—and as of now he hasn't received any medical assistance."
Vadeboncoeur's lawyer compares this arrest to the 1991 beating Rodney King suffered at the hands of Los Angeles police.
The incident began when Vadeboncoeur allegedly robbed a Jean-Coutu pharmacy while armed with a pellet gun.
The video shows a hooded man running into the deserted CEGEP parking lot while pursued by police. The man then drops some items into the snow and lies face down in the snow, with his arms spread wide.
An officer then runs up and immediately begins kicking the man in the side, and several other officers join in.
The Surete du Quebec has launched an investigation into the arrest, and the four officers seen on the video have had their guns taken away and been suspended with pay.
The suspensions came about 10 days after the arrest, when discrepancies emerged between the arrest report filed by officers and other information sent from a third party.
It is not known if those officers have been questioned by provincial police investigators. Vadeboncoeur, who has been detained since February 2, was granted bail yesterday.
It's just the most recent incident of alleged police brutality in Quebec.
Law-enforcement officials were heavily criticized for their handling of certain student protests in 2012, while the heavy-handed actions of one Montreal police officer known by her badge number, 728, have also been heavily scrutinized.
Duval, has said his client will sue the Trois-Rivieres police officers in civil court.
"It's scandalous what has happened here," Duval said. "People who manifestly lied in their report, personally I don't think it's credible evidence and I am asking for my client to get bail so he can go to a treatment centre to deal with an addiction problem."
A spokesman for the city of Trois-Rivieres said the municipality doesn't condone the police behaviour.
"We don't approve the actions of the police officers caught on tape,'' said Yvan Toutant. ''It's not in the current practices of police officers here in Trois-Rivieres.
"We'll wait for conclusions of the provincial police investigation but the mayor also wants everyone to know he still has confidence in the police force."
Meanwhile, Quebec Public Security Minister Stephane Bergeron told Radio-Canada on Friday that violence is unacceptable in Quebec. He wouldn't comment on the video itself but agreed with the suspensions.
—with files from The Canadian Press.