The Police Ethics Commission has lowered the boom on a Montreal police officer found to have abused his authority during a rough arrest outside a bar on Decarie Blvd. in 2009.
Officer James Joseph was handed a 75-day suspension — without pay — in connection with an incident involving pepper-spray in a parking lot separating the Pub Paré and an all-night Belle Province hot dog restaurant in the early-morning hours of Nov. 15, 2009.
That night, Joseph and his partner Pierre Hawey were posted there as part of an operation targeting pimps and drug dealers.
The pepper-spray victim, Vasilio Kyritsis, arrived at the parking lot with two of his friends. Kyristsis went to Pub Paré to use an ATM machine, to then meet the two other men at the restaurant. They had apparently been at an Old Montreal bar not long before.
At one point, Kyritsis confronted one of the officers, whose cruiser was parked awkwardly in a private space. A confrontation ensued which led to Kyritsis being pepper-sprayed.
The officer believed the man was acting aggressively. Kyristsis was later charged first with resisting arrest, then assault on a police officer. Those charges ended up being dropped.
In its decision, the Commission wrote that Joseph "acted with malice and with a spirit of vengeance, which constituted a very serious aggravating factor." Making false accusations against Kyritsis, the decision reads, was "highly reprehensible."