5 Quebec City police officers suspended after violent treatment of Black youth

Five Quebec City police officers have been suspended as part of an “evolving investigation” into a violent incident involving two young Black people outside a nightclub on the weekend, the police department announced Tuesday.

5 Quebec City police officers suspended after violent treatment of Black youth
5 Quebec City police officers suspended after violent treatment of Black youth

The officers have been suspended with pay from their jobs with the Service de Police de la Ville de Québec (SPVQ).

The incident took place outside the Dagobert nightclub on Grande-Allée Street early Saturday morning. Videos of two separate police interventions were widely shared on social media.

Footage showed officers punching and kicking snow in the face of a young Black man while he was lying on the ground restrained. Another video showed a young Black woman being dragged through the snow, at one point being pulled by her hair.

The young man who was detained by police has since identified himself as 18-year-old Pacifique Niyokwizera. His lawyer, Fernando Belton, told Radio-Canada that he believes Niyokwizera was a victim of racial profiling and is considering suing the city.

Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault has asked Quebec’s Police Ethics Commissioner Marc-André Dowd to investigate the actions of the police officers who were involved.


Video: Video shows violent arrest of young Black people in Quebec City (cbc.ca)

Today, Guilbault said that while some elected officials and community leaders have asked for an independent inquiry, she feels Dowd is best suited to get to the bottom of what happened. The commissioner, she says, is an “independent, expert resource,” well versed in the rules that govern police conduct in Quebec.

“He can cite officers, require them to appear before the ethics commission and if he thinks there’s something criminal in [what happened that night] he can transfer it to the BEI for example,” she said, referring to the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, Quebec’s police watchdog.

SPVQ spokesperson Sandra Dion told CBC the officers will be suspended with pay, as per the collective agreement, and the length of their suspension still hasn’t been determined.

The SPVQ says it’s also launching a second internal investigation on another intervention inside a licensed establishment in Sainte-Foy on the same night.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

5 Quebec City police officers suspended after violent treatment of Black youth
© CBC

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