QUEBEC CITY — The Quebec City Police Department (SPVQ) announced Saturday evening that it has opened an investigation into a violent arrest involving young Black teenagers. The video of the event circulating on social networks shows police officers making actions that raise questions.
The SPVQ said in a news release it has “been made aware of videos” circulating concerning this intervention which took place “during the night of November 26 to 27.”
#intervention policière diffusée sur les réseaux sociaux|Enquête exhaustive en cours suite aux images diffusées sur les réseaux sociaux impliquant des policiers du SPVQ| Pour plus de détails: https://t.co/fz4Esh7Leg
— Service de police de la Ville de Québec (@SPVQ_police)
After viewing the video, the release says, the behaviour of the officers involved “is of great concern to the management” of the police force.
“As soon as it was informed, the SPVQ consulted the said videos and took action in order to take all the necessary measures,” the release reads. “It also states that the professional standards module was notified.”
Quebec Liberal leader Dominique Anglade said she found the video “extremely troubling.”
“Honestly, I had to look at it twice, three times,” said Anglade. “It was really troubling.”
Anglade said the SPVQ needs to be more representative of the population, and that an outside body needs to look into what happened.
“This raises a lot of questions and that’s why I believe we really have to have an independent inquiry to get down to the level of answers that we need to get,” said Anglade.
According to the SPVQ press release, the identity of the officers involved in the intervention is still being confirmed.
No details have been given about the reason for the police intervention which has raised the indignation of many people on social media.
Professional boxer Eric Martel-Bahoeli reposted the video from comedian Renzel Dashington’s Instagram account on his Facebook page, describing the behaviour of one of the police officers as “disgusting.”
In the video, a police officer uses his boot to jam snow in the face of a teenager who is pinned face down on the ground by other officers.
The young boy, a minor, is a protégé of Martel-Bahoéli, who trains him at the Nordik Boxing Club.
“First of all, I was extremely surprised to see the young man I knew and secondly, I was stunned, not to say completely scandalized, when I saw the gesture the police officer made, which was gratuitous,” the Canadian heavyweight champion said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
“It doesn’t make sense. He’s a kid, he’s a youngster! It has no place with an adult, but here on top of that, it’s a young man who is not of age,” said Quebec City native.
“Clearly, he is immobilized, with his arms behind his back. To do that to a young person, so gratuitously, it has no place. We’re talking about ‘serving and protecting’,” he said, adding that he was waiting for news on the boy’s condition.
For Martel-Bahoéli, such a gesture adds fuel to the fire in the racial tensions between police officers and the Black and Indigenous community.
“I really didn’t like it. They’re not thugs, they’re not bad kids. They’re not bad kids in life, from what I know. I found it disgraceful,” he said.
He is especially concerned that such an incident will destroy all the intervention work he and his colleagues do with the youth in his boxing club.
He said teenagers come to the club looking for sport but also social support, which is what Martel-Bahoéli offers them. He also says he works with the Youth Protection Branch to help young people.
In spite of everything, he refuses to throw stones at the whole police department. In his opinion, there are bad officers who give a bad reputation to the whole force and they are the ones who must be identified and removed from the ranks.
As a native of Quebec City, Martel-Bahoéli would also like to see Black police officers in the SPVQ and sooner rather than later.
“There are no Black police officers in Quebec City! It is not normal in 2021, when you look at the City of Quebec and you look at the police force, which is supposed to be representative of the population, and there are zero Black police officers in Quebec City,” he said.
On Saturday evening, newly elected Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand also reacted to the video by posting a message on his Twitter account. Saying he was “disturbed by these images”, promising that “light will be shed on these events.”
Bonsoir tout le monde, depuis quelques heures, je vois circuler des vidéos sur les réseaux sociaux qui me préoccupent grandement.
Je suis troublé par ces images qui circulent sur le web en regard d’une intervention policière du SPVQ.
La lumière sera faite sur ces événements.
— Bruno Marchand (@brunomarchand)
Premier Francois Legault echoed Marchand’s concern saying, “Light must be shed on this event,” on Twitter.
— This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Nov. 27, 2021.
— With reporting from CTV News.
This content was originally published here.