Oct 11, 2012 / 3:53 pm
A notorious police constable has been suspended after she was involved, once again, in an aggressive exchange captured on video.
The officer best known in Montreal as "No. 728," in reference to her badge number, will be temporarily sidelined pending a disciplinary investigation, the local police chief announced Thursday.
Cst. Stefanie Trudeau first rose to local prominence earlier this year when video surfaced of her generously pepper-spraying a crowd of student protesters who appeared to pose no threat last May.
This week new video surfaced of a forceful, profanity-laced arrest during a dispute that started with a man drinking a beer outdoors.
After the incident she was recorded unleashing expletives and derogatory comments about artists, protesters, musicians and dwellers of a certain downtown Montreal neighbourhood and she described the people on the scene as, among many other things, "rats."
Montreal's police chief Marc Parent apologized Thursday to anyone slighted by the comments.
"I felt it was important, in the name of the employees of the Montreal police and in my own name, to apologize to the different people targeted in comments by the police officer," Parent said.
"These comments are completely unacceptable, intolerable and do not reflect our values."
He said the officer is suspended during an internal disciplinary investigation, which he promised will be completed quickly. He noted that the police service has a zero-tolerance policy for profiling of any kind, racial, social or political.
Trudeau, known as "No. 728," was initially relegated to desk duty Wednesday after video of the Oct. 2 incident was broadcast by Radio-Canada.
A man in the video identified as Rudy Orchietti told the network that he was nursing a beer while holding the door open for a friend who was hauling musical equipment into an apartment upstairs.
According to Orchietti, things turned sour after Trudeau showed up and asked for his identification papers, and he demanded to know why. That version of the events is supported by Trudeau's own description caught on the audio recording.
Orchietti said he was then tossed to the ground and handcuffed.
The video shows a man, identified as Serge Lavoie, complaining that the arrest of his friend is unnecessary. Lavoie is subsequently put in a headlock, dragged down the stairs in a choke hold, and forcefully handcuffed.
All the while, bystanders recording the event complain that Lavoie is being choked. The cellphones being used as recording devices were confiscated by Trudeau.
The decision to confiscate the phones may have had fateful consequences for officer No. 728; one of those phones later happened to record a conversation between her and a person believed to be a superior, apparently without her knowledge.
The recording captures references to "guitar-plucking" artists, "rats," and people who wear red squares, the symbol of Quebec's student-protest movement. There is also talk about choking a suspect, along with a string of unprintable epithets.
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