A young man who claims to be a victim of police brutality and racial profiling and his family are demanding $180,000 from the City of Quebec and four police officers for the many impacts this event had on their lives.
Le Devoir had access to the application filed in the Superior Court of Quebec on Friday, which was the subject of an article in La Presse for the first time on Friday morning.
The indictment dates back to the night of November 26th to 27th. Around 3 a.m., Pacifique Niyokwizera and some of his friends left Le Dagobert nightclub in Old Quebec. The plaintiff, then 18, noticed that a friend of his was being held by two security guards near the bar. Mr Niyokwizera then got mixed up with security forces, prompting officers from the Quebec City Police Service (SPVQ) to step in and order the young man and his friends to leave the premises. They then go to the parking lot of a nearby bar.
“The police are threatening the group to take them into custody. Concerned that the situation might escalate, Mr. Niyokwizera advances to the police to try to explain what happened to the security guard, which he believes is the cause of the police intervention », indicates the continuation of about twenty pages .
Here the situation escalates. The young man would then have been tear gassed by one of the officers involved in the case, prompting him to pull out his phone to film his interaction with police. One of the agents then invites Mr. Niyokwizera to approach him and claims to want to discuss with him. The police officer then began to hit him “with clubs”, the prosecutor claims. “Other police officers also intervened abruptly and arrested the complainant,” the document continues.
The plaintiff was then thrown to the ground by SPVQ officers, who punched him in the ribs and face, leaving him with a “bloated and bloody eye,” according to prosecutors. A disproportionate force linking Mr Niyokwizera’s family to “racial profiling” suggests the request, which was authored by attorney Fernando Belton, among others.
After being transported in a car several blocks from Dagobert, the young man, who would have been the subject of racist remarks en route, is left at the Gare du Palais when he has neither his phone nor his wallet with him, since he was misplaced during this police standoff , preventing him from returning home “under his own power”. The young man then runs to Place D’Youville, where a motorist agrees to drop him off in front of Le Dagobert, where he finds his wallet but not his phone.
Pacific Niyokwizera, who was a favored companion at the time, then took refuge at a restaurant near the nightclub before seeing a doctor in the emergency room on November 28. He is diagnosed with a concussion.
$180,000 in damages
The lawsuit alleges that the police officers committed not only racist errors but also several ethical errors. “The police officers did not warn Mr. Niyokwizera before resorting to violence, which was disproportionate,” the document stresses, among other things, which recalls that “the use of handcuffs in connection with an operation aimed at killing Mr Releasing Niyokwizera was excessive with a misdemeanor offense”. The family also challenged this finding in the district court.
“The grounds of public disorder alleged by the police to justify the arrest are only subterfuges for the real reason, which is related to race,” prosecutors note.
To compensate for the damage suffered by the young man, who fears for his life and safety on the eve of this event, during which he experienced a “humiliation” that will remain “marked for life”, the Court of Appeal requested $90,000 in “non-material “ damage. A sum of $10,000 is also being sought for each of the young man’s two sisters and his mother, who was left traumatized by the police raid.
Prosecutors are also seeking the sum of $15,000 for each of the four officers involved. All of the amounts claimed total US$180,000.
At the end of January, four of the five officers who were suspended on the sidelines of this filmed police operation resumed their regular duties with the Quebec police. The fifth now holds administrative positions within the SPVQ.