Complaints filed against police officers for mismanagement of harassment complaint

Police accused of not taking case seriously or informing victim of harasser’s record

“The police had a record on him and yet still did nothing to protect me or even inform me of his record,” Anna said. File Photo Erin Sparks

Two ethics complaints have been filed against five police officers after a criminal harassment complaint lodged by a Concordia PhD student wasn’t taken seriously, according to a press release from the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations.

Over the course of October to November 2019, Anna, whose name has been changed for safety reasons, was continuously harassed by a man at the downtown campus.

After a physical confrontation between her and the man in November, she went to Police Station 20, a block away from the university, to file a criminal harassment complaint against him.

Anna was turned away and told to come back later. She returned, escorted by a Concordia security officer, and filled out the required paperwork from behind a glass screen. She did not receive any explanation about the process.

After providing the two officers present with a physical description of her harasser, she reports the supervising officer said, “Sounds like a good-looking man, why don’t you go out with him?”

Still feeling afraid after completing her report, she asked the officer for an escort home. She alleges the officer mocked her, asking why she didn’t have any friends to help her out.

Anna left the station alone.

Several days later, Anna came home to find her apartment door open. It took more than an hour for two officers to arrive after she called 911.

The officers asked her to fill out another report. One of the officers said in French, “It’s not that serious, it’s just a bit of anxiety.”

They told her to go back to Station 20 to follow up and left.

She later found out about her harasser’s history of sexual assault when searching him online.

“The police had a record on him and yet still did nothing to protect me or even inform me of his record,” Anna said.

Anna followed up with her initial complaint nine separate times to no avail.

She went to the Police Operations Centre on Guy St., where she waited and didn’t leave until a detective opened her case.

After filing two separate complaints with the Police Ethics Commissioner, Anna was exasperated by the inadequate police response and support. She went to CRARR for assistance.

“The police officers’ practices and conduct are troubling. Some could be qualified as a form of systemic discrimination based on gender,” said CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi in a press release. “We need to remove these systemic barriers to justice for victims of sexual violence.”

Her harasser appeared in court in November and was released under conditions that are subject to a publication ban, according to the press release.