Massive setback to City of Montreal and Denis Coderre on anti-protester by-law P-6

Montreal police and City of Montreal politicians defeated by self-represented “radical” protesters

Police trivialization of legal violations called “staggering” by Municipal Court Judge

Montreal, February 25, 2015 –  Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has tweeted this morning concerning the P-6 by-law. He stated the following (in three separate tweets):

i)  "Mtl décide de ne pas appeller de la déc. du Juge Richmond. Prob. d'interprétation tech. P6 tjrs valide et en vigueur."
ii) "Donc en toute logique Mtl a choisi de retirer les accusations pour les constats d'infractions qui étaient toujours pendants."
iii) "P6 toujours valide C'est son application qui a été remis en cause par Juge Richmond. S'agit d'interprétation technique et problème de preuve"
Despite what Coderre asserts and will assert, P-6 has been defeated, for now, by street protesters who defied it, and by self-represented radicals who fought it in the courts.

The decision by the City of Montreal today, via Mayor Coderre, represents a major setback for everyone who defended and applied the anti-protest P-6 by-law, including specifically the Montreal police.

Literally thousands of tickets were issued under the P-6 by-law, in a concentrated period, between 2012-2013, while specific protests, particularly the March 15 anti-police brutality demonstration and the May 1st anti-capitalist demonstration, were politically profiled and targeted by the police.

The following community declaration was issued on April 2013 after a series of mass arrests in March 2013: It’s not at City Hall that P-6 will be defeated, but on the streets! We will not submit to municipal by-law P-6: www.solidarityacrossborders.org/solidarity-against-police-repression-in-...

Since the declaration, hundreds of protests openly defied P-6, as many had done before. P-6 was being rendered ineffective in the streets, and was going to continue to be defied in the coming years.

Importantly, protesters self-organized to defend themselves in the courts, without lawyers. The Judge Richmond decision that Mayor Coderre makes reference to was the result of a motion made by three self-represented protesters, including one person who was a minor at the time of being ticketed.

Coderre’s remarks today represent damage control on behalf of himself, an ardent defender of P-6, as well as the Montreal police.

The issue is not “technical” as Coderre claims. It’s worth quoting paragraph 156 of Judge Richmond’s decision in full:

"La banalisation de cette violation de la loi par des officiers supérieurs du Service de police de la Ville de Montréal est ahurissante. Non seulement la procédure ordonnée risquait de faire condamner des innocents, elle ébranle sérieusement la confiance qu'on peut avoir dans la preuve documentaire qui est utilisée chaque année dans les milliers des poursuites pénales."

[Translation: "The trivialization of this violation of the law by senior officers of the police department of the City of Montreal is staggering. Not only does the ordered procedure risk convicting the innocent, it seriously undermines the confidence we can have in the documentary evidence that is used every year in thousands of penal prosecutions."]

The Richmond decision can be consulted here: www.canlii.org/fr/qc/qccm/doc/2015/2015qccm14/2015qccm14.html

The City of Montreal is still currently facing several class action lawsuits related to the various P-6 mass arrests, where hundreds of protesters were often handcuffed and detained for hours despite being charged for what is the equivalent of a parking ticket.

There are likely other compelling reasons why the City of Montreal is dropping all P-6 charges. Self-represented protesters were aggressively pursuing police disclosure, including all the audio communications of police officers during mass arrests, as well as confirmation of the role of undercover officers and informants. The City of Montreal and SPVM did not want to risk disclosing this information to many self-described anarchists.

In anticipation of the coming wave of street protests as spring arrives – International Women’s Day on March 8, International Day Against Police Brutality on March 15, the various demonstrations in support of anti-austerity organizing, and much more – it’s worth recalling that ultimately P-6’s demise is not determined by judges or politicians, but by the defiance and rage, and collective support and solidarity, shown by anti-capitalist, anti-oppression, anti-police protesters in the streets.

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Source: Jaggi Singh, local protester, charged twice with P-6 tickets and self-representing against those tickets.
Contact: 514-848-7585 / jaggi@qpirgconcordia.org / twitter: @JaggiMontreal

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