It took 10-years to dismiss this guy? What’s wrong with this picture?
Court upholds firing of SQ officer
Police ethics commission ruling stands. SWAT-team member used excessive force, including putting gun in suspect’s mouth
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
A Quebec Court judge upheld last month the firing of a Surete du Quebec SWAT-team member for striking a handcuffed suspect in the face and placing a loaded service revolver in his mouth while making an arrest in 1994.
After a lengthy disciplinary hearing, the police ethics commission found Cpl. Bernard Bourgouin guilty of using disproportionate force in 2002 and stripped him of his badge in 2003.
Bourgouin appealed the conviction and the sanction, but last month a court judge ruled that the ethics commission’s ruling was supported by the evidence and that the punishment meted out was reasonable.
“Dismissal is the most severe sanction set out in the law governing police,” Quebec Court Judge Armando Aznar wrote. “At the same time, the ethical violation the appellant was found guilty of is extremely serious.”
During the course of a police raid in St. Etienne de Bolton on June 2, 1994, Normand Beaulieu was apprehended by an officer he later identified as Bourgouin.
After being handcuffed, Beaulieu said he was told to “shut his mouth.” He said he was dealt a blow to the face, with a closed fist or a pistol, that fractured his cheekbone.
The arresting officer then took out his gun and placed its barrel in Beaulieu’s mouth – supposedly in the name of extracting information on where other suspects were hiding.
The ethics commission ruled nothing justified this extreme use of force against Beaulieu, who was slightly built, handcuffed at the time, and not posing a threat to the arresting officer.
But Bourgouin appealed on grounds that it took the better part of a decade for the wheels of justice to churn out a decision, including nearly two years from the date of the incident for Beaulieu and the lawyer he hired to finger him and lodge a formal complaint.
Bourgouin contested Beaulieu’s ability to identify him as the assailant. He also questioned why the ethics panel believed the complainant’s word over that of several SQ officers who offered testimony that exonerated him.
But Aznar pointed out that the arbiters based their ruling on the fact that Beaulieu told a fairly consistent story, while the officers who testified drew memory blanks, claimed not to have seen anything and were only co-
operative with their accused colleague’s lawyer.
Bourgouin could still appeal the latest decision to a higher court.