Complaint filed against police over comments ahead of anti-police brutality march

A formal complaint has been filed against the head of media relations for the Montreal police department, alleging that Ian Lafrenière “incited officers to commit illegal acts” in an interview with the Journal de Montréal this week.

Speaking to a reporter about the annual anti-police brutality march — scheduled for this coming Sunday — Lafrenière explained that police still had not received an itinerary for the demonstration as required by municipal bylaw P-6. As such, he said, anyone participating could be arrested.

But several thousand tickets issued in recent years under the controversial bylaw were thrown out last month after a judge ruled that article 2.1 of the bylaw was unclearly written, and did not expressly say that protesters can be fined if organizers do not provide an itinerary.

Asked about this issue, Lafrenière — on video — told the Journal that his officers would get around it by noting another article in the bylaw on the actual tickets. That would be article 6, which states that “every person must immediately comply with the order of a peace officer to leave the scene of an assembly, parade or gathering held in violation of this bylaw.”

Lafrenière called it “an administrative detail.” But Yves Manseau, the man who filed the complaint against Lafrenière to the ethics commissioner on Wednesday, says holding people for one infraction and noting another on the ticket is a clear attempt to circumvent the law.

“It is therefore clear that Mr. Lafrenière and his (fellow officers) wish to use the back door for something that is not allowed to be done via the back door,” Manseau wrote. The ethics commissioner now has 40 days to review the complaint and decide whether to dismiss it, order Lafrenière to meet with Manseau to discuss the matter, or launch an investigation.

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