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2 Montreal police officers suspended without pay for mistreating drunk man

07/28/2015 07:30 EDT | Updated 07/28/2016 05:59 EDT
The province's police ethics committee has suspended two Montreal police officers without pay for the way they treated a 22-year-old man who was drunk.

The committee ruled that officer Luc Gauthier be sentenced to a 22-day suspension without pay for falsifying a police report, and illegally detaining and beating Nicolas Lavoie, who was drunk on July 24, 2012.

Gauthier's partner, Alain Poirier, got a 12-day suspension without pay.

The ruling comes three years after the police intervention took place in front of a Ste-Catherine Street bar in downtown Montreal.

Gauthier and Poirier stopped Lavoie for disturbing the peace.

"I was insulting towards the officers — I admit it. But what they did is unforgivable," Lavoie said.

According to evidence presented before the ethics board, Gauthier struck the young man several times after he shouted insults and spit at the officers at the corner of Ste-Catherine Street and St-Laurent Boulevard.

The two officers then drove the Montreal resident to Île Sainte-Hélène, nine kilometres away, and left him there.

However, in their report, they indicated they left him at the corner of Berri and Viger streets in the downtown area.

Witnesses, who called 911 after seeing Lavoie walk across the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, corroborated Lavoie's account.

After the incident, he filed a complaint with the police ethics committee.

Lavoie said he's very pleased with Tuesday's ruling.

"I am very proud of myself because I fought the police's dishonesty with 100 per cent honesty. That's when we realize that when we're honest, anything is possible," Lavoie said.

The officers' punishment is more severe than what the lawyer for the ethics commission recommended. Christiane Mathieu had asked for 15 days suspension without pay for each officer.

During her arguments, which she gave on June 30, Mathieu said the officers' actions were deplorable and ruin the reputation of all police officers. She also added the the officers showed no remorse.

The lawyer representing the officers refused to comment.

Gauthier, who has been a Montreal police officer for 26 years, and Poirier, who has been on the force for 18 years, have 30 days to appeal their suspensions.

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