Quebec Crown prosecutor clears Nunavik officer following investigation

Unrestrained suspect slashed his own throat during 2020 arrest

Quebec’s Crown prosecutor’s office determined that it would not pursue any charges against the responding officer in an August 2020 arrest in Kangiqsualujjuaq, in which the suspect injured himself. (File photo)

By Sarah Rogers

Quebec’s Crown prosecutor’s office has cleared a Nunavik police officer of any wrongdoing in a 2020 incident when a Kangiqsualujjuaq man was seriously injured while he was taken into custody.

On Aug. 13 last year, Nunavik Police Service responded to a call to intervene on an alleged assault at a home in Kangiqsualujjuaq.

A single officer arrested a 22-year-old man at the scene; the officer’s partner was responding to a medical emergency elsewhere and unable to attend the scene, the director of criminal and penal prosecutions, or DPCP, said in a Tuesday news release.

The suspect was being aggressive, so the responding officer was only able to place him in the back of the cruiser, without first searching the suspect or fitting him with handcuffs.

But as the officer helped the suspect exit the vehicle when they arrived at the police detachment, the man pulled a knife from his pants and slashed his own neck, the DPCP said.

The officer provided first aid and then transported the suspect to the local health centre, where he was treated for his injury.

“The intervention was legal,” the DPCP said in the release. “The officer could make the arrest and detain the man, and in those circumstances, was not legally obligated to search him before placing it in the back of the vehicle police.”

Based on its findings, the Crown prosecutor’s office determined that it would not pursue any charges against the responding officer.

The details of the incident and arrest were confirmed in a December 2020 report prepared by Quebec’s police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office, which is tasked with investigating incidents in which civilians are injured or killed during police altercations.

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