Montreal cops say it was ‘unacceptable’ to threaten frozen homeless man


MONTREAL – A Montreal police spokesman has described as “unacceptable” and “inexplicable” an officer’s comment he would tie a homeless man to a pole for an hour in the freezing cold if his behaviour didn’t improve.

The policeman’s remarks were captured on video by a passer-by and posted on YouTube.

Footage shows the officer speaking to a man dressed only in a short-sleeved T-shirt and jean shorts that reached his calves.

The officer can be seen telling the man that if another citizen complained to police about him he would “tie him to a pole for an hour.”

The comments were made on Thursday afternoon as Montrealers, like Canadians in many parts of the country, were coping with bone-chilling temperatures.

Police Cmdr. Ian Lafreniere said Friday that disciplinary measures against the officer could range from a verbal warning to a suspension.

“It really isn’t what we expect of our officers,” Lafreniere said in an interview. “It is unacceptable and, especially, inexplicable.”

Police were called to the scene after callers to 911 complained that the man was being aggressive as he panhandled outside a subway station.

Lafreniere said the man refused the officer’s requests that he get into a police cruiser or go to a shelter for the homeless.

“I can’t tell you right now whether his (the officer’s) intention was to do what he threatened to do,” Lafreniere said. “But the end result is very sad.”

Other police officers eventually found the man and finally persuaded him to go to hospital.

Lafreniere said the Montreal force has had two volunteers on each shift all this week to go out to help the homeless.

While authorities were scheduled to speak to the officer later in the day, there was no word as of early Friday evening as to whether the meeting had taken place.

Mayor Denis Coderre said he spoke to Montreal police Chief Marc Parent as soon as he heard about the incident on social media.

“There is nothing that excuses that kind of remark,” Coderre said at a ceremony at the Port of Montreal.

“What was said and done was unacceptable and it can’t happen again.”

The mayor cautioned, however, that mental-health issues can be a complicating factor in such encounters.

Coderre reiterated his commitment to helping the homeless with a long-term strategy.

“When was the last time you met a homeless person, looked him in the eye and asked him his name?” he said. “It’s a question of dignity, as well.”

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Montreal cops say it was ‘unacceptable’ to threaten frozen homeless man

  1. ivan.john

    • What’s this for?

  2. As someone who was threatened by one of these individuals on December 23rd and three other times in the last 5 years I understand the frustration of the police. They are powerless in getting these people off the street. POLITICIANS GET THESE PEOPLE OFF THE STREET.

    • And put them where?

    • In what way were you threatened? Do you mean in a physical way? Not that it makes any difference but I’m just curious.
      Seems that in this case the fellow had the offer of being taken somewhere, whether a hospital, shelter or somewhere warm but he was initially refusing that help. I’m sure I am not the only one who has seen people panhandling right below or near a “No Panhandling” sign, but I can’t fathom any person being out in this cold weather in the sort of skimpy clothing this guy was wearing, not accepting an offer to go someplace safe.
      We should all be thankful for the simple but good things we have in our lives.

  3. The copper had the right intentions, perhaps not the right method for the politically correct crowd.

    I have also worked in an area that was besieged with homeless/druggies. It was daily aggravation and having dealt first hand more than once with physically aggressive pan handlers, I would have liked to see some of them tied to a pole in the freezing cold. I
    have tremendous sympathy for the police in these situations. These people go
    around blighting others lives with seeming no real repercussions.

    I have no doubt that this individual was told more than once to move on and “being known to the police” is code for he’s a dirt bag with a long history of making others
    lives a hell.

    @happybirthday2u:disqus , I can only assume you work in live/work in the suburbs. Perhaps invite a few of these people over to yours to stay for a couple of weeks and let us know how you get on?

    • Hey there, Dave. I just came in here to delete this old news headline from my list of articles and noticed your input directed at me.
      Whether you actually do really care or not, I’ll tell you something you don’t know: It just so happens that I have offered a person (who was down and out, also attempting to live clean and sober) to come and stay with me.
      Hard as it was for the individual to try to stay on the straight and narrow, with some success for about a year or two I might add, that soul has now passed away, due to addiction issues.
      It was very sad to lose the “good person” that I came to know.
      The cohabitating turned into a few years of friendship, caring and mutual respect and although some of my personal items eventually did go missing (and I know it ended up going for “fix” money) I learned a lot about the “need to feed” which one of these unfortunate people ends up dealing with, no matter how bad they want to quit.
      Although I, myself am not an alcoholic/addict, I also had to cope with a family member’s addiction problems so it was not an entirely foreign concept as far as knowing what to expect if things went south. That didn’t stop me from at least offering the help.
      How about you? Have you ever done likewise, Dave?
      Oh, and I have lived in both big cities, small cities, suburbs and rural areas over my time on this planet. It matters not where you live, but rather how you live and what you give that enriches our lives.