Police unions in Quebec call for end to mandatory minimum sentencing
The three largest police unions in Quebec are calling for an end to mandatory minimum sentencing because they feel it can ruin lives and careers.
They are especially concerned about police officers who are sentenced after being convicted of crimes.
The unions say that judges should be allowed to reduce sentences based on the context in which a crime is committed, noting that society calls on police officers to drive fast and use firearms.
Pierre Veilleux of the Quebec Association of Provincial Police said being on trial -- let alone being sentenced -- can have long-term consequences on the individual.
"Total destruction. We will find that person is never the same again, even if they are acquitted at the end of a trial. That person is marked for life," said Veilleux.
He pointed to Eric Deslauriers as an example.
The Sureté du Quebec officer was convicted of manslaughter and given the minimum sentence of four years in prison for killing 17-year-old David Lacour.
Lacour was at the wheel of a stolen vehicle when police tried to pull him over on Jan. 22, 2014, and Deslauriers ended up shooting Lacour in a school parking lot.
Deslauriers has also been forbidden from owning a firearm for ten years, while the judge in the case noted there were aggravating factors when she determined her sentence, including that Deslauriers used his weapon in a schoolyard in the middle of the day.
The police unions are scheduled to meet with opposition MPs in Ottawa, and they hope to meet with the federal justice minister as well.