By in Breaking News

It Had Better Be Good!

Police responding to an emergency have every reason to drive faster than the speed limit. Their ability to arrive on the scene of a crime promptly can make the difference between life and death, particularly in a rural area where the detachment office may be located at a good distance from the actual scene.

But what about an officer who is not responding to any emergencies? Should that officer ever be exceeding the speed limit? Is there ever any good reason to do so?

This is a very pertinent question for the province of Quebec, as the Crown Prosecutor has just announced its decision not to press criminal charges against a police officer who killed a five-year-old boy last February. The unnamed officer of the Sûreté du Québec was travelling at 122 km/h in a 50 km/h zone . He was on duty, in an unmarked car within a busy Montreal suburb.

Residents of the area told reporters they weren't surprised somebody was killed when the officer crashed into the car of a father carrying his children to school for the day. They note that many drivers exceed the speed limit at that particular intersection. Having lived more than thirty years in the Montreal area, that doesn't surprise me at all.

But I still had to wonder what made a police officer think he could get away with driving almost 2-1/2 times the speed limit when there was no crisis. But more than that, I have to wonder about the message that's being sent when the Crown declines to prosecute an officer who has not only acted in great excess, but caused the death of a child. When police should stand as an example of lawfulness and good judgement, this man seems to be getting a free pass despite having taken a life – and because he wasn't charged, the force can continue to shield his identity!

The Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) is apparently meeting with the family to explain the decision not to pursue charges . I honestly can't see how they could possibly justify not holding the officer criminally responsible. This wasn't a slight oversight, or an accident that occurred during an emergency situation. Disciplinary actions within the force are all well and fine, but can the Crown say with any honesty that it would not prosecute a civilian under similar circumstances?

Not only has this family lost a child, but because no charges will be laid they are also ineligible to receive compensation normally available to victims of a crime . So there isn't even any money to repay this family for the cost of the little boy's funeral. As my title says, the excuses had better be darned good!

Canadians deserve to know who this man is, who thinks that as a cop he is so far above the law. And even if he were not convicted, it seems clear that compensation is due to the family and that this man is not fit to “serve and protect” his fellow citizens. The only disciplinary action that is fitting in a situation like this is complete dismissal from the force.

This whole situation reeks of corruption and police privilege . And it feeds the myth that a cop is above the law. It's situations like this one that teach men like this officer, that carrying a badge means he doesn't have to obey the very laws he is supposed to be enforcing.

This incident is far from the first time a police officer in Quebec has failed to respect the rules of the road. Speak to almost any citizen, and you'll likely hear a handful of different stories about police exceeding speed limits, driving the wrong way up a one-way street, failing to stop for pedestrians, or using the siren just to get ahead of traffic on the highway.

But this time there's been a death. And we're not talking about some shady drug dealer or gang member who died while officers were attempting to apprehend him. We're talking about a little boy who had to be pried from his father's car with the jaws of life, and who clung to what was left of his life for days in the hospital before his body finally gave out.

All the wrong messages are being sent by failing to hold this officer accountable for his actions in a public court of law.

This is my Breaking News entry for Dawnwriter 's A-W Category Challenge

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Image credit: Police cars by Hans Braxmeier/ Pixabay ( CC0 1.0 )

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Feisty56 wrote on November 20, 2014, 2:18 PM

What a preventable tragedy! It feels to me that this family has had two tragedies now -- first the accident and the loss of their beloved son, now a legal system that says what happened was A-okay.

MegL wrote on November 20, 2014, 2:22 PM

It had most certainly better be good. A child has died, an innocent, nor should the parents have to bear the cost of the funeral.

Kasman wrote on November 20, 2014, 2:31 PM

Even when rushing to the scene of an emergency police officers still have duty to drive in a responsible manner and not be reckless. If this officer was not on an emergency call then his behaviour is no different from any citizen who willfully breaks the law and he should be dealt with accordingly.

maxeen wrote on November 20, 2014, 2:38 PM

Too disgusting ,hope he has nightmares for ever.

Scorpie wrote on November 20, 2014, 2:41 PM

In the USA lawyers would be lining up around the block to get the chance to prosecute the municipality of manslaughter.

Ellis wrote on November 20, 2014, 3:31 PM

The police are not above the law....they are there to enforce it..

WordChazer wrote on November 20, 2014, 4:36 PM

Last time I was anywhere near a cop over the speed limit, he drilled past me down the outside lane of the dual carriageway we were on. I was driving my car, doing around 55mph. His car (probably with two up as cops tend to travel thus at speed) with blues but no twos as it was the early hours, breezed past me as if I was stopped still. I felt the ground rumble as he blew by me. Unfortunately, sometimes, driving at speed goes wrong, as you detail here. When it does, it has a distressing tendency to involve innocent individuals, whose families then have to live with the consequences.

bestwriter wrote on November 20, 2014, 6:42 PM

There cannot be different laws for 'law keepers' that help them get away.

BarbRad wrote on November 21, 2014, 3:28 AM

I have to agree with you on this one. I an see no excuse for this, and it seems that the people in the community, not just the victim's parents, are owed and explanation of why no prosecution is taking place.

Dawnwriter wrote on November 21, 2014, 7:30 AM

This news is so tragic on so many levels. Justice system all over the world seems more intent on protecting the criminal rather than the victim.

celticeagle wrote on November 21, 2014, 3:02 PM

I grew up in this same area where I live now. When I was young some policemen used use their sirens going fast down our busy street to a bar down the way and they were meeting for their lunch there.