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Call out for March 15th, 2009

13rd International Day Against Police Brutality!

Sunday March 15th, at 2PM at Mont-Royal metro

''As police officers, repression is our job. We don’t need a community relations officer for a director, we need a general. Let’s keep in mind that the police force is, after all, a paramilitary body.'' Yves Francoeur, President of the Montreal Police Brotherhood Justice to all the victims of police brutality and impunity! No justice, no peace! - Organized by the Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP) - 514-395-9691 -
The Montreal police (SPVM) is in an uproar. With the current cases against them looking as loaded as their guns, these guardians of the civil tranquility have a bad case of frayed nerves. Their bargaining tactics as they negotiate the renewal of their collective labor agreement have allowed us a glimpse of their true nature: they now parade around town in military apparel, sending a very clear message to the people of Montreal. The police are keeping a finger on the trigger, and are willing to fight for their right to keep it there. And how could we forget the events of August 9th, 2008. Early in the evening, while playing dice at a park with his brother and some friends, 18 year old Fredy Villanueva was shot dead at point-blank range by Constable Jean-Loup Lapointe, as his accomplice, Stéphanie Pilotte, looked on. Not satisfied with having shot and killed one young man, Lapointe went on to wound two of the other youth present, shooting one of them in the back. It must be made perfectly clear that this was a murder and that Constable Lapointe should be considered a murderer and must absolutely face criminal charges. There have been many attempts to portray this as an isolated case, a rare fatality that does not put into question the integrity of the police. Cops, however, never act alone. It is the entirety of the police force and the policing institution itself which is to blame in these cases: Fredy Villanueva is the 43rd person killed by the SPVM since 1987. Not a single police officer has been found guilty of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter. Every single police officer involved in these cases resumed regular duties, which explains why one can still cross paths with a cop like Dominic Chartier. Constable Dominic Chartier killed Yvon Lafrance in 1989, was involved in Martin Suazo’s death in 1995, and has had six complaints filed against him with the police ethics committee. But these facts alone are not enough to warrant a dismissal from his position as weapons instructor for the SPVM. The Montreal Police Brotherhood (FPPM), with their incomparably bizarre Yves Francoeur reigning supreme in the role of godfather, exists mainly to cover up the wrongdoings of its members, operating much like a crime family. It systematically attempts to sabotage the holding of public inquiries and has interfered with the crown prosecutors’ work on numerous occasions. Meanwhile, with the SPVM recently proposing a ban on protestors wearing masks at demonstrations, we may well ask why the SPVM do not do some unveiling of their own. If the cops are so afraid of public inquiries, it’s because they have something to hide. Thanks to the FPPM, the details of the 2005 police shooting of Mohamed Anas Bennis have still not been made public, and as they have time and again interfered in the holding of any kind of public investigation, this case remains unresolved. The Brotherhood, along with the vast majority of police, has lately been more radical in its stances, most notably in its president’s own words as he declared that Officer Lapointe “…did his job well”. The police try to set an example in this time of social unrest. They try to play their repression off as being necessary for keeping things in their rightful place. To succeed in their mission, someone will eventually have to pay the price. The political powers that dictate the police’s actions know who to blame when it comes to protecting their own: “visible minorities” who are members of “street gangs” who live in a dangerous and “troubled” ghetto. This kind of racial and social profiling is a day to day reality in Montreal’s working class neighbourhoods. In St-Michel, and Montreal-North to name a few, if it’s not the color of your skin that brands you a criminal, it’s the clothes you wear. As of last year even the highly respected Quebec Human Rights Commission had declared the SPVM guilty of “discriminatory practices and profiling”. The youth of these neighbourhoods are being judged by incompetent hacks and yet it is they who are treated as such. There is also the discrimination experienced by the homeless, who are apparently guilty of not being able to keep a roof over their heads. Montreal police (who seem to not have much rattling around in their heads) seem to find it perfectly reasonable to burden homeless with tickets they cannot pay, thus criminalizing their misfortune. The people pay the price for “Justice” when its armed goons go on the attack. Besides their possession of firearms and other tools of repression such as the baton and pepper spray, we are now introduced to a new weapon: the electroshock gun Taser. Responsible for the deaths of over 300 individuals in North-America alone, this weapon was most notable employed by the SPVM in the killing of Quilem Registre in 2007, and remains in use despite Minister of Public Security Jacques Dupuis having ordered an assessment of the weapon. Some of the Tasers in use emit a charge up to 50% higher than expected. So who protects us from the police? Besides facing the possibility of death or imprisonment, we must also behave and learn to keep quiet to appease these hired guns. No name-calling, as the SPVM is pressuring the city to make it a crime to insult a police officer. One wrong word could soon cost you one more fine. It’s easy for anyone to grasp the fact that the new municipal regulations – anti-mask and anti-insult – suggested by the SPVM clearly target, as stated by their spokesperson Paul Chablo, two protests in particular: the International Workers Day protest on May 1st and the March 15th International Day Against Police Brutality. Besides being illogical and subject to interpretation, the two proposed regulations prove that there is a real danger of political profiling. We just have to look at the case of Benjamin Nottaway, Algonquin chief from Lac Barrière, imprisoned since last November for participating in a peaceful protest denouncing the government’s neo-colonial policies. The only way to resolve these problems is to face their true causes. The poverty engendered by government reflects the wealth of the calmer, less populated rich neighbourhoods, where some even employ their own private security. Economic and social instability has consequences that are becoming clearer and clearer. Here and around the world, it is the same reasoning that keeps the system in place, and just as our police kill, so it is in every place where they take on the role of oppressors. Two recent events caught our attention; there was the murder of Alexandros Grigoropoulos in Greece, and that of Oscar Grant in Oakland, California, both at the hands of the forces of order. In both cases, just as we saw in Montreal-North, people took to the streets in revolt, at one point almost culminating in an insurrection in Greece. In the latter case, the two killer cops had criminal charges brought against them. This just goes to show that it is important to act in the face of injustice, that only a strong public outcry can really change things. The International Day Against Police Brutality is the perfect opportunity to show that we refuse to stand for police impunity and to show our opposition to the system that legitimizes their actions. It’s the fist step towards changing a world that has no future ahead of it if we allow passivity to rule. Justice to all the victims of police brutality and impunity! No justice, no peace! - Collective Opposed to Police Brutality (COBP) Groups wishing to endorse the March 15th demonstration should get in touch with COBP at