Nunavik police officer suspended after “incident” in police vehicle

“The police officer involved when the incident occurred is currently suspended”

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

The Kativik Regional Police Force patrol truck involved in a Sept. 19 incident in Tasiujaq was similar to this vehicle photographed there in August 2007. A young woman prisoner is alleged to have been sexually assaulted by a male prisoner in the back of a KRPF patrol vehicle on Sept. 19. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)


The Kativik Regional Police Force patrol truck involved in a Sept. 19 incident in Tasiujaq was similar to this vehicle photographed there in August 2007. A young woman prisoner is alleged to have been sexually assaulted by a male prisoner in the back of a KRPF patrol vehicle on Sept. 19. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

(updated, Sept. 25, 6:30 a.m.)

People in Tasiujaq and other Ungava Bay communities in Nunavik say they’re outraged about an incident this past week in Tasiujaq, where a young woman prisoner is alleged to have been sexually assaulted by a male prisoner in the back of a Kativik Regional Police Force patrol truck.

They allege that a woman in an intoxicated state was picked up by a female police officer during the evening of Sept. 19 after a large alcohol shipment into Tasiujaq fueled several parties.

The officer is alleged to have handcuffed the woman before stopping at another residence to put a man, also in an intoxicated state, but not handcuffed, into the back of the same vehicle.

Responding to a complaint, the officer then stopped at yet another residence to pick up a third man, they say.

During the police officer’s absence, the woman prisoner was alleged to have been sexually assaulted by the male prisoner who was already in the truck.

Sources told Nunatsiaq News that the police officer was the only officer on duty in the community that night, although KRPF officials said during a report to the KRG regional council last week that it had enough officers to assure the presence of three police officers in all Nunavik communities.

They say the police officer on duty that night was not a full-fledged member of the KRPF, but a rookie officer or “special constable,” with only police college training and hired under Sec. 107 or 108 of Quebec’s police act. Under this, a “special constable” can be appointed for a period of not more than four months, by “the director of the police force…to prevent and repress offences under the municipal by-laws in all or part of the territory of the municipality.”

Julie Grenier, communications co-ordinator at the Kativik Regional Government, said in an email communication that “there was an incident in a KRPF vehicle in Tasiujaq on the 19th of September. This incident is currently under investigation. The police officer involved when the incident occurred is currently suspended.”

Since 2009, members of the KRPF have been subject to a code of conduct.

Any violation or breach can lead to disciplinary action, ranging from a warning to dismissal, says the 10-page document, which sets standards of KRPF members “in an effort to ensure efficiency, quality of service and respect for authority.”

The code lists a total of more than 60 breaches, which include responsibility towards persons in custody, and outlines in detail what happens to any member of the force who doesn’t follow the code.

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