On Thursday, when temperatures dropped to a frigid -40 degrees Celsius, police received several calls about a homeless man, wearing only a t-shirt and shorts, who was aggressively panhandling outside of the Jean-Talon metro station. In response, in an interaction that was caught on video and spread widely across the internet, an unidentified police officer approached the man and threatened him.
“I’ve told you that if I received another 911 call about you, I will tie you to a pole for an hour,” the officer warned.
A contributer named Omar Tunisiano uploaded the video on Youtube. It has been viewed more than 44,000 times, and has led to a stream of ongoing, outraged comments.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre has been amongst those to speak out.
“The words of the police officer were unacceptable,” said Coderre, adding that, with the week’s low temperatures, he is “concerned about the current conditions of the homeless.”
Officers have been working to find shelter for the homeless throughout this week’s deep freeze, even having two volunteers
This week’s deep freeze has spurred officers to aid the homeless in finding shelter; two volunteers have gone out per shift to help them.
Before the now infamous encounter between the homeless man and the officer, the officers who had removed the man from the subway station tried convincing him to get into their cruiser so that he could be taken to a shelter. The man refused their offer, although two passerbys were able to later convince him to follow them to a warmer location.
Later that night, tracked down by officers and homeless workers, the man agreed to be taken to a hospital, where, according to Lafrenière’s description, he arrived “safe and sound.”
Disciplinary action is to be taken against the offending officer. In the words of Commander Ian Lafrenière, head of public affairs for the Montreal Police Department, “The commanding officer will be meeting with him, and I can tell you he’s not happy at all.”
“It could be a reprimand, it could by many things,” Lafrenière continued. “What you heard on that video is unacceptable and unexplainable.”
Sources: CTV News, Montreal Gazette
Photo Source: http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca