06/04/2013 05:39 EDT | Updated 08/04/2013 05:12 EDT

Police union slams Trois-Rivières for docking suspended officers' pay

The union representing four Trois-Rivières police officers charged in connection with the brutal beating of an armed robbery suspect is denouncing the city's decision to stop paying the suspended officers.

City council voted last night to withhold the salaries of the four officers, who were formally charged last week with a long list of criminal offences, including assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm, negligent use of a firearm, fabricating police reports and obstruction of justice.

The officers, Marc-André St-Amant, Barbara Provencher, Kaven Deslauriers and Dominic Pronovost, were suspended with pay last winter, after a security camera showed a uniformed man jumping on the back of Alexis Vadeboncoeur, who lay on his stomach on the ground.

The video showed three others then join the first one, kicking and punching the man repeatedly and dragging Vadeboncoeur through the snow.

Trois-Rivières Mayor Yves Lévesque said the decision to stop paying the officers was the right one, since the four have now been formally charged.

The president of the union representing the officers, Louise Lesage, said his members should be presumed innocent until the courts decide otherwise.

"The fundamental rights of my members have not been respected. And everyone has the right to a full defense. Let the courts do their job," said Lesage.

He said the decision goes against the union's collective agreement, and he plans to fight it.