No charges for Que­bec po­lice over abo­rig­i­nal sex as­sault claims

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

MON­TREAL: Charges will not be filed against six po­lice of­fi­cers ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing in­dige­nous women in Que­bec, al­though of­fi­cials are not rul­ing out that the events oc­curred, prose­cu­tors said Fri­day.

A spokesman for the prose­cu­tors said there was not enough ev­i­dence to take the po­lice of­fi­cers to trial over ac­cu­sa­tions of sex­ual as­sault, abuse of power and in­tim­i­da­tion brought forth by women in the small town of Val d’Or, about 500 kilo­me­ters north­west of Mon­treal.

Ac­cord­ing to the women, who came for­ward a year ago on broad­caster Ra­dio-Canada, of­fi­cers rou­tinely picked them up from Al­go­nquin com­mu­ni­ties near the ru­ral town and forced them to per­form sex acts.

Paid in cash or drugs

Some were paid in cash or drugs. If they re­fused, the women said they were phys­i­cally as­saulted or left in re­mote ar­eas, their mo­bile phones bro­ken, to walk home in the cold. Eight of­fi­cers were sus­pended fol­low­ing the ac­cu­sa­tions, al­though two have since been re­in­stated. Based on re­sults from an in­ves­ti­ga­tion which looked at 35 com­plaints, the pub­lic prose­cu­tor de­clined to charge the of­fi­cers. “There is in­suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to bring charges,” a spokesman for the prov­ince’s Di­rec­tor of Pe­nal and Crim­i­nal Pros­e­cu­tions told a press con­fer­ence.

How­ever, the de­ci­sion “does not nec­es­sar­ily mean that the al­leged events did not oc­cur,” he said. The Congress of Abo­rig­i­nal Peoples said it was “deeply concerned for In­dige­nous women in Val d’Or.” “In­dige­nous women need an out­let to voice their com­plaints and con­cerns against po­lice. With­out a safe place and process to do that, these in­ci­dents will con­tinue,” said the group’s Vice-Chief Kim Beaudin. When con­tacted by AFP, pro­vin­cial po­lice de­clined to com­ment on whether the six agents would be re­in­stated and said they were de­ter­min­ing whether to con­duct a dis­ci­plinary in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Sev­eral dozen in­dige­nous peo­ple gath­ered in peace­ful protest in Val d’Or on Fri­day fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment. —AFP

NEW YORK: Peo­ple walk near Trump Tower af­ter the street was closed to foot traf­fic by po­lice with bar­ri­cades and of­fi­cers at the en­trance to the block at both ends for more than two weeks on Fri­day. —AFP

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