Investigation underway for alleged beating of Senegalese diplomat by Gatineau Police
Anincident involving an Sénégalese diplomat and the Gatineau Police at her Gatineau home located in Aylmer on August 2 has caused an international incident. The Senegales Embassy is stating the diplomat was allegedly beaten by the police officer, while the Gatineau police have stated the person in question was violent and had to be subdued.
The incident has been reported on across the country, and in the international and Senegalese press Service de Police de la Ville de Gatineau (SPVG) issued a press release claiming they received a call requesting that police officers assist a bailiff who was executing an order to evict the residents.
The resident was in a legal battle with their landlord. The Quebec rental tribunal ordered the diplomat to pay more than $45,000 plus interest to the landlord. The house was allegedly damaged during the diplomats residence including water and mold issues.
An eviction notice was sent to the residents of the property and the tribunal issued a notice allowing the Bailiff and police to enter the residence was sent on August 2, the same day of the incident.
On August 5, the Embassy of Sénégal in Canada posted a press release to their Facebook page stating “Despite a reminder of the victim’s diplomatic status and the inviolability of her home, Canadian police officers handcuffed and beat her to the point that she had difficulty breathing, which led to her evacuation by ambulance to the hospital.”
“The Canadian police subjected the diplomat to humiliating physical and moral violence in front of witnesses and in the presence of her minor children” said the Embassy in their statement on Friday August 5th calling the incident barbaric and racist.
On August 5, following the embassy’s statement, the SPVG claims the police arrived at the property at 1:30 pm where they verified that the court documents were valid. They were informed that the individual had diplomatic status. The bailiff then proceeded to execute the order. According to the statement, the police intervened when the diplomat was aggressive and refused to cooperate.
The SPVG says they explained the process to the diplomat and tried to ensure that everything went smoothly. During the intervention an officer was punched in the face. The police decided to arrest the diplomat who resisted arrest and bit another officer. The police claim they then brought the diplomat to the ground and subdued them.
The individual was detained in the patrol vehicle and under supervision of an officer until the bailiff carried out his order. The SPVG states that at no time did the person mention having been injured or in pain when questioned.
It is not clear when an ambulance was called or by whom, however, at 3pm the paramedics called the Gatineau Police for assistance when they were attending to the same individual. There were approximately ten people present according to the police service.
The Senegal Government has demanded an investigation be carried out highlighting that the incident is a violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations..Global Affairs Canada says the incident was unacceptable.
The SPVG submitted the files to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) for analysis to determine whether the charges of assault of an officer and obstruction of police work could be filed. However, due to diplomatic immunity the investigation against the diplomat has been closed.
The Bureau des Enquêtes Indépendantes (BEI), has assigned four investigators to determine if there was police misconduct After the investigation the file will be given to the DPCP to determine if charges will be filed against the officers involved in the August 2 incident. The SPVG states that they will collaborate in any investigation.