Montrealer accuses Kingston officer of mistreatment

By Dawn Cuthbertson
Local News - Wednesday, June 08, 2005 @ 07:00

A Montreal man involved in a minor traffic accident says he was treated like a “foreigner” by a King-ston Police officer because he’s francophone.

Al Brosseau, a businessman who was in Kingston last Wednesday, says he’s so incensed by his treatment that he filed a complaint to the civilian agency that oversees Ontario police.

“I will not stand for the way I was treated in my own country,” Brosseau told The Whig-Standard in a telephone interview from Montreal. “I’m so disgusted.”

Brosseau, 64, said he was mistreated by a Kingston Police officer June 1 when his rental car bumped into a motorcycle on Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard.

In the complaint, dated June 6, Brosseau charges that a Kingston Police officer treated him poorly, telling him he had to give him a ticket.

“He said, ‘This is our laws,’ ” Brosseau writes in his complaint, noting that he believes the normal statement is, ‘that’s the law.’

“Was he trying to tell me I’m a foreigner or something like it?” Brosseau states in the two-page complaint. He provided a copy of the document to The Whig.

In an interview, Brosseau said the officer’s tone and responses to his questions left him feeling belittled and targeted.

The Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services is an independent agency that investigates public allegations of mistreatment by a police service or department.

Brosseau works as a manufacturers’ agent for an export and marketing company in Montreal. He said he came to Kingston for a business meeting.

Brosseau said he was driving his car near Gananoque when he noticed a problem with its transmission.

He stopped at a car dealership in Gananoque, which put him in touch with Enterprise Rent-A-Car on Princess Street in Kingston.

Brosseau drove his rental car, a Chevrolet Cobalt, into Kingston and was on Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard looking for an exit for Highway 401 when he rear-ended a motorcycle, he said.

“I was looking for signs and then I looked ahead of me and there was the motorcyclist,” he said. “I tried to stop but I hit him.”

Brosseau said he wasn’t driving fast and the impact of the collision didn’t knock the man from his bike.

The two men surveyed the damage to their vehicles, which included scratches on the Cobalt’s front bumper and a plastic carrying case mounted on the back of the motorcycle.

A woman who was ahead of the collision pulled over, identified herself as a nurse and asked if anyone was hurt, Brosseau said.

A Kingston police officer arrived between 10 and 15 minutes later, Brosseau said.

He said he and the motorcyclist made separate statements in the back of the police cruiser.

The woman who’d identified herself as a nurse was told that she could leave after the officer wrote down her name and phone number, he said.

“During all that time I never saw the policeman interview her,” Brosseau said.

Brosseau said the offensive comments started when the police officer told him that he was getting a ticket for careless driving.

Brosseau said he asked why he was writing up a ticket.

The officer then said, according to Brosseau, “I don’t know and I don’t care what you say, I’ve heard it all,” when Brosseau asked how much the ticket was going to cost.

“Those are direct quotes which are burned in my mind,” Brosseau said.

In the end, Brosseau received a ticket for $325. He said he put a cheque in the mail on Monday.

On Monday, a Whig-Standard reporter asked a police department clerk, Rob Woolsey, for a copy of the accident report involving Brosseau’s case.

Woolsey said the report by Const. Adam McMullen isn’t complete and is unavailable.

McMullen didn’t return calls from a reporter.

Brosseau said he drafted the complaint after faxing Kingston Police Chief Bill Closs some questions surrounding his accident and not getting a response.

“Right now I feel like it’s out of my depth, out of my hands,” he said.

The fax, dated June 2, included a request for the identity of the motorcyclist and information on whether he’s a member or associated with an Ontario police department.

Kingston Police professional standards officer Staff Sgt. Antje McNeely said she couldn’t comment on Brosseau’s case, but did say she’d look into the complaint after receiving a copy of it from the commission.

“I’ll do the investigation by taking a statement from the complainant and any witnesses that were there, as well as the officer,” McNeely said.

A senior investigator for the commission said the complaint will be handed over to Kingston Police.

Police policy or conduct complaints are first dealt with by the police service involved, said Margo Boyd, of the commission.

“The chief of police gets the opportunity to resolve the matter in the first instance,” she said.

Police departments must investigate and render a decision within six months of receiving a complaint, Boyd said.

The commission becomes involved if the complainant isn’t happy with the initial decision. An appeal must be filed within 30 days, Boyd said.

Kingston Police investigated 33 complaints in 2004, McNeely said.

Eleven complaints have been filed so far this year, all of which are ongoing.

The commission received 3,110 complaints last year, 562 of which were appealed after the first stage.



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