A former officer of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) was reprimanded by the Police Ethics Committee for having exceeded his powers by investigating a statement of offense given to former mayor Denis Coderre in 2014. A ex-colleague who helped him in his quest was also slapped on the knuckles.
The charges against the two former officers date back to 2014, when the City of Montreal initiated legal proceedings against its police officers’ union, the Fraternity of Montreal Police Officers, following a marked drop in the number of statements of offense issued on its territory.
While taking his break in the cafeteria of the police station where he works, officer Denis Côté, then assigned to road safety, hears on television “that a story of a traffic ticket in Laval involves Denis Coderre”, while mayor of Montreal.
However, Denis Côté has already crossed paths with Denis Coderre about three years earlier, we can read in the decision of the Police Ethics Committee dated April 19.
Even if he was not mayor, Denis Coderre had then asked the agent Côté not to give him a ticket when he had just been arrested for not having paid the registration fees for his vehicle.
Challenged by this story heard on television three years later, Constable Côté talks about it to his colleagues who tease him by telling him that “unlike him”, another Montreal police officer did not hesitate to put fined the mayor of Montreal who had still not paid for his plates.
Indignant, Denis Côté then began an investigation on his own to find this last observation and convinced his colleague at the time, Emmanuel Dupuis, to give it to him “by not going through the usual channels”.
However, Denis Côté thus contravened the Code of police ethics which provides that police officers must “behave in such a way as to preserve the confidence and consideration required by [their] function”.
“Personal information of Denis Coderre is shared with the Brotherhood, information is revealed to the media, an investigation by the Municipal Integrity Protection Squad is launched as well as an internal investigation”, relates the decision of the Committee of police ethics.
By doing so, agent Denis Côté indeed “wanted to demonstrate that his intuition was correct, without respecting the rules”, ruled the Committee. “What he is accused of is his recklessness, his impulsiveness and it is not the conduct expected of a police officer in all circumstances. You have to know how to dose, ”we can read in the decision against him.
Denis Côté and Emmanuel being now retired from the SPVM, they could not be subject to sanctions. They were nevertheless declared disqualified from exercising the functions of peace officer, for a period of ten months in the case of the first, and four months for the second, his intervention being considered “rather limited”.
In Constable Côté’s case, the Committee considered that he was awarded the Medal of Bravery in 2008 for his exceptional courage when he risked his life to save and protect others at Dawson College. by neutralizing the author of the shooting.