An apparent near-kidnapping at a Laval high school has resulted in one arrest, according to Laval police.
Service de police de Laval (SPL) spokesperson Stéphanie Beshara said that two "hooded suspects" assaulted and attempted to kidnap a student at École Curé-Antoine-Labelle. A gunshot was fired in the air before the suspects fled the scene.
"We received a call around 3 p.m. concerning an incident at École Curé-Antoine-Labelle near the Latour Pavilion," said Beshara.
According to Beshara, "a suspect vehicle with several individuals inside parked at the school." Two suspects got out of the vehicle as two students exited the school.
"One suspect went after one of the students and tried to kidnap him," said Beshara.
"There was an altercation and the friend of the victim was able to intervene. Then, one of the suspects fired a gunshot into the air. The two suspects re-entered the vehicle and made their escape."
No one was injured by the gunshot, according to the SPL.
After an investigation, police found a vehicle on rue Maisonneuve in Sainte-Dorothée. They arrested a 17-year-old suspect "for attempted kidnapping."
The SPL says that "the suspect was released under conditions."
This is one of several gun-related incidents reported in the Montreal area in recent days, and the second one involving teenagers. On Sunday, a 16-year-old Montrealer was shot and killed in Villeray—Saint-Michel—Parc-Extension near the École Joseph-François-Perrault, a high school.
It was the 31st homicide on the Montreal territory in 2021. Montreal police say they are still investigating.
The incidents don't seem to be related.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
Quebec's police ethics committee has ruled that a Laval police officer violated the ethics code when racially profiling a Black man in May 2017. The incident, which took place at a gas station, involved the officer pushing the man, wrongfully arresting him and deleting video footage of the event from the man's cellphone, according to the committee.
The officer also submitted a report he knew to be false or inaccurate, the committee's written decision says.
The police ethics committee made its decision on November 18 after seeing video surveillance taken at the gas station as well as reviewing the officer's reports and hearing testimony from both parties: Officer Michaël Boutin and Pradel Content, an anglophone Black man who identifies as disabled.
The decision document lays out Content's version of events, according to the police ethics commissioner.
The commissioner says Content was driving on Boulevard des Laurentides and stopped for a routine Timmies run when he spotted a patrol car U-turning in order to follow him. After parking at a gas station, the document says Content began filming since he's previously been harassed by police officers, but Officer Boutin told him he didn't have the right to film, slapped his phone out of his hand and pushed him, eventually arresting him.
Officer Boutin testified that they were following Content's vehicle after noticing an object poking out of the trunk. Boutin says they noticed Content violating the Highway Safety Code because he was using his cell phone while driving, despite Content saying he didn't start filming until he had parked. Boutin says he arrested Content for refusing to identify himself.
While Officer Boutin admitted to deleting the video (with consent), he says it was because Content brought the phone up to his face to intimidate him. However, the committee says it did not believe this because video footage showed Content holding the phone at chest level and not "gesticulating," as the officer described.
Citing another committee decision, Police Ethics Commissioner v. Ledoux from 2016, the committee added, "Nothing prohibits a citizen from filming or photographing a police intervention, this having become so easy with the new cameras available to the public. The police officer must now deal with this reality."
According to the decision document, Officer Boutin told Content that he should be happy to be in Quebec rather than the U.S. "because they shoot people like you there," to which Content replied that the police are shot back.
Content reportedly contested the ticket the police issued him for using his phone while driving and won. CTV News reported that, in addition to his complaint with the police ethics committee, Content also filed complaints with the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal and the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission.
While his case is still before the tribunal, CTV says the Human Rights Commission ruled in his favour and he was awarded $10,000 in damages from the police officers involved and the City of Laval.
All in all, the police ethics committee upheld six of the 12 complaints made against Officer Boutin.
"The Committee believes that Mr. Content's race played a definite role in Officer Boutin's decision to question him. Indeed, even if Officer Boutin may have had reasonable cause to stop Mr. Content, he had no reason to act as he did in slapping Mr. Content's hand and shoving him," the decision says.
Marie-Ève Bilodeau, secretary-general of the police ethics committee, told MTL Blog that the officer's penalties have yet to be decided. The decision on sanctions will be given at another hearing scheduled for December 16 at 9 a.m.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
Laval police are currently on the hunt for a suspect connected to various arson attacks on the Les Soleils du monde child care centre in the Sainte-Dorothée district, and they're asking for the public's assistance in identifying the man.
According to a press release, police say the suspect is a white male who was last caught on camera wearing a grey toque, a grey hoodie, a dark blue coat and black sneakers with orange laces.
On Saturday, November 6 just before 7 p.m., images of the man were caught on a surveillance camera that showed him "approaching an exterior window to place an incendiary object on it."
Police say he then rapidly left the scene, heading towards a wooded area located between the child care centre and École Pierre-Laporte.
And this isn't the first time Les Soleils du monde has faced such an attack.
"Since last August, this is the third similar event to occur at this address. The other two fires took place in August and October 2021 respectively," the press release explained.
The suspect has yet to be found and the motivation behind the attacks remains unknown.
If you have any information regarding these arson attacks or the suspect, Laval police are asking for your help.
"Any information allowing the identification of this individual or likely to advance the case can be transmitted confidentially on the InfoLine at 450 662 INFO (4636) or by dialling 911, mentioning the file LVL 211109-023," the release said.
This article’s left-hand cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
A 23-year-old man, Marc-André Robitaille, was arrested by the Laval Police Department on October 26, after allegedly forcing an elderly person to sell him their house. Now, authorities have reason to believe Robitaille could have had other victims as well and investigators are hoping to get in contact with them.
According to the Laval police, "On October 20, the suspect showed up at the home of the victim, an elderly person who had just inherited a house following the death of a relative."
Allegedly pretending to be a real estate consultant when arriving to the victim's home, police said Robitaille "forced his way into the residence and restricted the victim's movements."
The suspect then apparently made an offer for the house and "forced the victim to sign it, under threat." The offer is said to have been much lower than the actual value of the home.
"Fearing for their life, the victim was forced to accept the suspect's demand, who allegedly set a later date to meet with the notary to formalize the sale before leaving," police added.
At the time of his arrest, Robitaille was released with conditions, including to appear in the Court of Quebec on December 14.
He is facing a long list of charges including extortion, forcible confinement, breaking and entering, and assault.
The Laval Police Service asks that anyone who may have been victimized by this man to contact the Info Line 450 662 INFO (4636) or call 911 and mention file LVL 211020-076.