A 61-year-old man is suing after he claims a Longueuil police officer assaulted him.

Rejean Cormier was working the front desk at the Abri de la Rive-Sud homeless shelter on the South Shore on Nov. 11 when he says police roughed him up after he wouldn't let them access confidential files.

Two police officers arrived at the 14-bed Longueuil shelter after receiving a call from someone threatening to commit suicide there.

“I repeated at least three times, ‘The guy is not there.’ When he saw the name of the guy in the file they said, ‘Hey what's that?’” said Cormier.

Cormier says one of the officers beat him when he tried to prevent them from looking at confidential files.

“They attacked me. They threw me on the floor, and crossed my arms on my back,” he said. “They continued to hold my arms until I lost consciousness.”

An ambulance took Cormier to hospital, where he had surgery on his shoulder and arm.

The soft-spoken man spent three days in hospital and will not be able to work until at least the spring.

He has filed a lawsuit against the officer he claims attacked him and said he will be seeking financial compensation.

Cormier is also calling for an independent inquiry into the situation.

Meantime, the case has been passed up to the Surete du Quebec, which is protocol when a police officer is involved in an incident.

The SQ will interview Cormier on Wednesday.

Longueuil police says both officers are still patrolling and are not a risk to the community.

The force said it believes the intervention was legitimate and is not commenting on the question of excessive force.

They say Cormier was being arrested for obstructing a police officer at the time of the incident.

Cormier is supported by many community organizations on the South Shore whose employees often rely on police and call them for backup.

The officers in question should be fired, said umbrella group Community Organizations of the Monteregie.

“We are very worried, for if we have to call the police again. If we need help and we have this kind of service, we are very worried about that. We don't want them on the road anymore,” said Johanne Nasstrom of the organization.