Carl Cadieux, 20, a janitor at École au Pied-de-la-Montagne and Nadia Lessard, a Grade 6 teacher at the school, were arrested in front of the school following an incident on June 11 that began when, according to Cadieux and Lessard, a police car ran a red light without flashing its emergency lights.
Police: No excessive force
Cadieux reportedly flagged down the police car, telling the officer that it was dangerous to do that in front of a school, particularly when children were waiting to cross the road.
He filmed the encounter that followed on his cellphone. In the video he can be heard yelling and swearing at police, as well as screaming he was being hurt. He also asked for the officer’s name and badge, which officer Dimitry Harris provided.
The video also shows Harris telling Cadieux to stop screaming.
Cadieux released the video to the public after Montreal police concluded that the officer did not act criminally and would not be sanctioned.
The incident, police said, began when a police cruiser made a U-turn on Des Pins Avenue after receiving a complaint about a speeding van from a woman who said she was nearly run over.
The officers inside the cruiser drove past the school while going to look for the speeding vehicle, at which point they encountered Cadieux. When the officers could not find the van, they returned to speak to Cadieux, police said.
Lessard said she was pepper-sprayed after touching a police officer’s arm in the altercation. She said she was pleading with Harris and his partner to let go of Cadieux right before being sprayed in the face at close proximity.
Who provoked who?
Cadieux admitted he came across as arrogant during the incident, but maintained that the officer had just insulted him before he began to film.
“What we see is a reciprocal dispute with a citizen who is behaving arrogantly, and a police officer who reacts in a fairly serious manner,” said Stéphane Berthomet, a specialist who analyzes police conduct for Radio-Canada.
Bethomet said Cadieux may have been aggressive, but did not behave in an injurious manner. However, Berthomet continued, the officer did nothing to alleviate the tension and instead provoked Cadieux.
The only witness to the events, Pascal Marion, said there were no physical acts of aggression on the part of the school employees. “However, the police were very violent,” Marion said.
Cadieux and Lessard are expected in court this week on charges of obstructing a police officer relating to this case.