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Quebec's Police Watchdog Investigated 5 Deaths Linked To Montreal Police Activity In 2022

Since 2020, the number of deaths investigated per year has stayed the same.

Two police officers walk down a Montreal street in the winter.

Two police officers walk down a Montreal street in the winter.

In 2022, the Montreal's police service was investigated following the deaths of five people and the disappearance of one, according to data from Quebec's independent police watchdog compiled by MTL Blog.

During the same window of time, one civilian was injured and seven were seriously injured during the course of police activity in SPVM jurisdiction.

Montreal's police force, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), is the second-largest in Quebec, just after the Sûreté du Québec (SQ). Like other police forces in Quebec, the SPVM is held accountable by the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI). This independent office investigates cases in which civilians were hurt or killed by Quebec police, and was responsible for managing over 50 cases across Quebec in 2022 alone.

In 2021, the same number of SPVM-related deaths were investigated by the BEI, alongside six serious injuries and one non-severe injury. The year prior, another five deaths were linked to SPVM activity as well as three non-severe and four severe injuries. Besides a dip in cases in 2019, these numbers have remained relatively stable over the years since the BEI began taking cases in mid-2016.

The BEI describes these cases with careful language, stating that it investigates only when someone dies or is injured "by a firearm used by a police officer, during a police intervention or while being detained by a police force." The organization doesn't publish conclusions about whether police actions directly resulted in civilian injury or death.

Once a BEI inquest is finished, a fact-based report is given to the Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales (DPCP), which is responsible for determining whether to pursue criminal charges against officers involved in civilian injuries and deaths. The DPCP has not laid charges in any case begun since the organization's start in 2016, although many cases are still in the investigation phase and may later result in charges.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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