UPDATE: Coderre calls policeman's words 'unacceptable'

A Montreal police officer met with his superiors after a confrontation with a homeless man outside the Jean-Talon Metro station Thursday.

It was all videotaped by a passerby which shows a homeless man clad only in a tee-shirt and cutoff jeans being berated by the policeman who at one point also threatens to tie the man to a pole.

The temperature at the time was in the mid-minus 20's with a windchill close to minus 40.

“What the policeman said was totally unacceptable,” Montreal mayor Denis Coderre said. “Regarding any situation, you don’t talk that way, you don’t act that way."

Coderre met with reporters Friday morning and said the police service received four 9-1-1 calls about the agressive homeless man wearing nothing but shorts and a t-shirt on the street. That's when police went to the scene to intervene.

Montreal Police Commander Ian Lafreniere says the police officer's conduct was unacceptable.

“Threatening to attach him to a pole, especially with the weather, why did he say that?” asked Commander Ian Lafrenière with the Montreal police.  “Was it just to scare him because he wanted him to go away and be in a warm place?”

He said since Monday the police department has assigned two officers per shift to deal with homeless people found on the street during the current cold snap.

 “I think it is important also to show that [homeless people] are human beings,” Coderre said. “We need to surround ourselves with the right expertise and the left hand has to know what the right hand is doing.”.

"When was the last time you went up to a homeless person and asked him or her their name and how their doing," Coderre asked.

It is not clear if the conclusion of the conversation between the officer and his commander will be made public. 

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  1. bahus posted on 01/02/2014 09:29 PM
    Mr. Denis Coderre would you please be so kind and post your tweets in french AND english as well ? As for the officer, I'd like to see him being tie to a pole to see how tough is he... it's easy to be a tough guy being paid more than $50,000 a year, it takes skills to deal with homeless people. Sadly and obviously the officer lacks them.
  2. andrew posted on 01/02/2014 09:32 PM
    There are police officers that should not be police officers. This is one person who should not be a police officer. He is on a power trip.
  3. Mark posted on 01/02/2014 10:40 PM
    These officers are not dumb. They know that this is the easy way to get a paid holiday. Ie. suspension with pay?
  4. mary posted on 01/02/2014 10:50 PM
    The recent video makes me ill. first of all the humaine gesture would of been to place the homeless man into the police vehicule (out of the cold). To watch that "Officer stand and PREACH and THREATEN the poor soul while he is freezing is unacceptable in itself. This officer is out of touch with social society he is supposed to be protecting . He is a POMPUS ASS !!!!
  5. joeN posted on 01/03/2014 08:59 AM
    Here we go again with cops on power trips. This guy may have attended the same training as the cop who arrested the man downtown for taking a picture of his squad car and leave his daughter unattended while they drag the man to the station and slap him with an abusive fine. Steroids affecting their judgement. And then they wonder why they have a bad public image. This cop will geat away with nothing but a slap on the wrist as his union will come to his defence.
  6. Joe posted on 01/03/2014 09:37 AM
    Why not get the SQ to investigate this issue, then call for an inquest, and finally in 3 years the solution will be that this officer and others like him are going to get courses and be told not to talk to people with that tone of voice when its -25 and under. Before they question this officer the union will step in and make sure the officers will have the time to get their stories straight. Then this whole issue like all the others will go again under the proverbial police carpet never to be heard of again.
  7. Respect posted on 01/03/2014 10:09 AM
    While I do not condone the behaviour of this police officer who is demonstrating a frustrated and confrontational approach to trying to help another person in need, I feel our police officers are not properly trained to deal with the homeless in Montreal. Many of these people are mental patients that have been discharged from our hospitals to solve budget and overcrowding problems.
    That being said, Police officers once properly trained to deal with these homeless people should be given the right to arrest them and remove them from the street should they feel that they are "a danger to themselves or others". At minus 35 degrees, it is clear that this individual cannot be on the street and should be helped whether they want it or not.
    My two cents...
    1. Joe posted on 01/04/2014 09:25 AM
      @Respect I agree with the training part, but this officer failed his basic training which is to uphold the law not break it and the last I heard uttering threats is breaking the law.
  8. embarrasedtocallmyselfamontrealer posted on 01/03/2014 11:05 AM
    At this point it has nothing to do with his profession. You can say rubbish like police officers have no training to deal with homeless people but at the end of the day they are people just like you and I. You don't need training to be a carring, considerate and thoughtfull person. What it really comes down to is that clearly, this officerhas no morals, no values, no conscience and certainly no respect for others. I am sure his parents/wife/children would be very disappointed to have seen this so called "police officer" treat another human being that way while freezing and shacking in this brutal cold weather. I was in tears just by looking at that poor man! If we were to say that to a cop we would get arrested but a cop will get a slap on the hand and simply have to give a public apology and that's the end of the story. Police officers don't care about people, all they care about is the status and the power it gives them by calling themselves "police officer". It's unfortunate tho because it gives a bad name to the police officers that actually do care.
  9. Drew posted on 01/03/2014 11:10 AM
    He says since Monday the police department has assigned two officers per shift to deal with homeless people found on the street during the current cold snap. How they deal with it is threatening to tie them to a pole is a good plan lol lol lol . Police are not trained to deal with the homeless but they are very well instructed to give tickets and full fill their quote.
  10. G posted on 01/03/2014 12:20 PM
    I think the officer could have definitely handled the situation much better without threatening the homeless man. However... has anybody done any further research or even paid attention to the conversation in the video? Apparently this homeless man was being aggressive to the people inside the metro while begging for money. Police received numerous complaints about this homeless man's aggression. I do not condone the way the officer handled the situation but I do appreciate him diffusing the situation. We have all seen much worse with cops abusing their power but sometimes hooligans need to be made examples of such as in this case.
    1. MA posted on 01/03/2014 04:02 PM
      @G You have to be joking me!!! The man is homeless, the man was drunk. I have crossed many homeless people that have reacted that way...you simply walk away and ignore. Clearly he was not in right frame of mind and didn't know better.
      If you think that the officer diffused the situation as you stated...then I don't know what this says about you as a person!
      At the end of the day NO ONE deserves such treatement. All the officer had to do to diffuse the situaton was to arrest him if people were complaining about his aggression. He would have done that man a favor and himself!
  11. eric posted on 01/03/2014 12:36 PM
    Cop was just trying to get the guy to do something, likely get in car to warm up, and as many if not most of us he got a little frustrated at seeing this man freezing right in front of him. It's society's job to protect some folks against themselves.
    Politically correct language is NOT the issue. Get REAL!
    Be a cop on the street for a few days and get back to me.
    1. John F. posted on 01/04/2014 11:19 AM
      @eric "eric"...I totally agree with your comment. A video of 52 seconds does NOT tell the whole story and there is NO question in my mind that the officer had any intention to tie the homeless gentleman to a pole. I believe that it was a "gentle" threat in order to get the man to UNDERSTAND the situation and PERSUADE him to get into the police car by HIMSELF without having to place him "UNDER ARREST and PHYSICALLY FORCE" him into the vehicle for his own protection. Can you imagine the comments if that had happened!!!
      If I could meet with this police officer, I would shake his hand.

      To all those who posted negative comments, including our new mayor, my question to you is: What would you have done better to defuse the situation??
  12. www.facebook.com/david.crichton2 posted on 01/03/2014 12:47 PM
    This Video is just a sign of how some Montreal police officers have forgotten what their duties are as a police officer. Tying a homeless man in shorts and a t-shirt to a pole for an hour in -21 weather.. This officer needs to lose his job. Us as citizens make one mistake and we pay for it sometimes the rest of our lives.. When officers make a mistake they get a slap on the hand with paid leave and back on the streets they go.. How's that justice.. Screw the justice system.. then they wonder.
  13. Paul Liberator posted on 01/03/2014 01:01 PM
    When someone is doing something stupid, we are asked to leave him/her alone. When the police officer is doing his job (the method could be disputed), everyone (well almost everyone) is telling him that he can't do that. I am rather puzzled by the mindsets of these people. Can't we leave the officer alone? He is just doing his job. Please, if you have so much against what he said, go and help those who need help in the cold. I salute the officer for what he was doing. Sometime, reasoning breaks down, one has to use other means to achieve what is necessary under the circumstances. Policitians, hands off!!!
  14. BigTT posted on 01/03/2014 06:25 PM
    M. Mayor,
    The problem is the union protecting this officer, municipal and government workers etc. If you really want to show us what you can do to correct the mess the unions have gotten us into because of their collective agreements protected by their Charter. We dare you to grab the Ministre d'Affaires Municiplales by the right ear and Marois by the left ear and have these two wackos abolish the Charter protecting unionized cityworkers. This way, we may finally eliminate positions filled by idiots such as the police officer who forgot what it means to be human, and persons in positions such as yours who forget to be realistic in resolving issues such as this and corruption at the source - the Charter!
  15. Dave posted on 01/03/2014 06:44 PM
    Point made ! This officer needs to be dealt with. He however is likely very frustrated as well.....

    However the real issue is lack of training on how to deal with the homeless who in many cases have mental issues.

    The even bigger issue is the number of homeless people...staggering in such a wealthy society.....if only our elected officials had not been pissing away our hard earned tax dollars over the last 50 years.........Oh what we could be as a society if we were focussed !!!!!
  16. Chris posted on 01/03/2014 07:57 PM
    Personally I am more concerned at how easily the media can manipulate the minds of its followers. We were not there, but the images and limited background information clearly indicates that the officer is dealing with a person who is mentally challenged and/or under the influence. In a situation where a irrational person refuses to cooperate what are the options for the officer? use of force? Nope – his training dictates otherwise and he would be subject to even greater public scrutiny. Repeatedly ask him politely to get in the car? Nope. The man would suffer severe frostbite before complying. The officer's only strategy was to negotiate at the level at which the person can understand; to create a fictitious scenario where there would be consequence for non compliance. Anyone who has cared for a mentally challenged or inebriated person knows that you sometimes have to be creative when trying to coerce them out of a dangerous or inappropriate situation. It is easy to stand on the sidelines with a camera and pass judgment, but how about asking the cop if there is any way you could help? It's a thankless job being a cop and not much fun being homeless. Instead of compounding the problem, lend a helping hand.
    1. John F. posted on 01/04/2014 11:30 AM
      @Chris Thanks Chris for this excellent comment.
      I could not have said it better.

      Dealing with with the public is NO picnic, especially as a police officer and NO, I am NOT a police officer!!
  17. Lorrie posted on 01/04/2014 10:52 AM
    I honestly believe that the punishment should fit the crime. And with that being said, the officer threatened to leave the man to a pole for an hour, and that's what should be done to him. Put him in a t-shirt and cut off shorts, and handcuff him to a pole in -20 temperature for an hour. And just like a 3 year old put in the corner, hopefully he will learn something. And become a bit more compassionate if not human.
    1. Bill T posted on 01/07/2014 02:49 PM
      @Lorrie Now theres a dumb reply if i ever saw one. Never threatened your kids with a punishment if they didn't listen? Wow..
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