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
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/police-cars-autos-police-vehicles-271217/