The Minister responsible for the Fight against Racism, Benoit Charette, takes up the cause of citizen videos of police operations that turn sour. “Yes, citizens who think they are witnesses of inappropriate gestures are entirely within their right to film them, to make them public,” he said bluntly on Wednesday.
Quebec police are “extremely professional,” said Mr. Charette broadly. But, “bad apples” are in the lot, he added.
According to Mr. Charette, “the video makes a difference” in the reconstruction of a police intervention. He points to the guilty verdict of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the second degree murder of George Floyd, which was handed down on Tuesday. During his trial, several videos of the officer resting his knee on George Floyd’s neck, handcuffed, for 9 minutes and 29 seconds were submitted as evidence. “These are videos that end up serving justice. In the case of Mr. Floyd, [sans elles], there would have been no accusations, there would have been no conviction, ”he argued.
Deputy Prime Minister Geneviève Guilbault also approves citizen videos of police operations. “If someone feels they are witnessing an injustice or a potentially illegal or reprehensible act in society, whether committed by a police officer or someone else [et qu’il] wants to document this problem, or this situation, it is not the government that will prevent them, ”she said, while recalling the“ disciplinary mechanisms ”established.
Yes to body cameras that work
Mr. Charette and Ms. Guilbault also gave their agreement in principle to the use of portable cameras for the police. “This transparency, it is desired as much to demonstrate that the police, in the very, very large majority of cases, do an excellent job,” said the minister responsible for the fight against racism.
The Sûreté du Québec will launch a first pilot body camera project in Rimouski by the end of the month, in concert with the Ministry of Public Security and the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions, said his colleague. Three other pilot projects will be launched elsewhere. “We are putting all the chances on our side to be able to find something that works,” said Ms. Guilbault, while recalling that the portable cameras had not passed the test of the Police Department of the City of Montreal. “It’s not as easy as it sounds, you know. That brings, all the same, elements of proof management, technological elements, a financial element, also, important … “
Members of the Legault government said they were “very relieved” the outcome of the Floyd affair. “Even if we will not bring Mr. Floyd back to life, I think this is an element that was expected and which will certainly help American society to become aware of the changes to be made,” said Mr. Charette in a scrum. Press.
In his eyes, Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict for the second degree murder of George Floyd, an African-American, sends “the signal that there is work to be done” to combat racism in Quebec as well.
The Prime Minister Francois Legault had set up the Action Group against Racism after the death of George Floyd, recalled Mr. Charette Wednesday. He pledged to report “within a few weeks” of the “actions taken” among the 25 recommended by the “Group of Seven” last December.
Quebec is also the scene of “racial profiling during police stops” and “police violence linked to racism”, underlined the Action Group against racism in its report.
“We must do more,” agreed the Deputy Prime Minister.