UPDATE: cop whistleblower warns against cops investigating cops
Montreal's police chief Philippe Pichet has been suspended with pay, while the chief of the Surete du Quebec has been given a one-year mandate to deal with the much-publicized problems within the force.
Martin Prud'homme, meanwhile, will step aside from his SQ duties for the next year while he takes charge of the Montreal force on an interim basis.
The appointment, and the suspension, take effect immediately, but not everyone is happy about the replacement.
Montreal police veteran Pietro Poletti says he was pushed out of the force for whistleblowing and believes Quebecers are tiring of cops investigating cops.
"I would have preferred a civilian," says Poletti. "This could be a dangerous path, when you create uniformity [between police forces] throughout the province and you're eliminating competition for the public, you'll be seeing less transparency."
He says the report by former deputy minister Michel Bouchard was "excellent" and pointed out exactly what was wrong with administration at the Montreal police. The report claimed there were "systemic problems" in Pichet’s management and listed several distressing examples of misconduct within high ranking officers being swept under the rug.
Over 1000 files reviewed by Bouchard showed that several allegations were left uninvestigated, information was withheld in several cases to prevent the filing of criminal charges, and the police repeatedly stalled brutality complaints until the complainant gave up.
One file outlined in the report indicated that an officer accused of stealing a winnings voucher from the casino of Montreal's case was stalled for so long that it was eventually dismissed.
Another file detailed a complaint from the family of a 14 year old girl that was allegedly struck by police in the Montreal metro system, she was never interviewed.
Mayor Valerie Plante and public security minister Martin Coiteux met Wednesday to discuss an inquiry into the internal affairs of Montreal's police department. The inquest, headed by ex-deputy Justice Minister Michel Bouchard, concluded Pichet showed a total lack of leadership in dealing with the department's problems.
During a news conference later in the afternoon, Coiteux suggested he appointed Prud'homme to take over the Montreal force, in part, because he had no aspirations to become Montreal's top cop. Prud'homme, in fact, has been given an extension as SQ boss, which will continue through 2022, which will resume once his mandate in Montreal ends on Dec. 31, 2018.
Pichet, who's been with the force since 1991, was appointed as police chief in 2015 by then-mayor Denis Coderre. He's had to deal with several major controversies since he took over, including defending the force's decision to spy on journalist Partick Lagacé's cell phone.
With files from CJAD 800 reporter Emily Campbell