Montreal Police Formed Partnership With Canadian Army

The SPVM and the Canadian Forces Set Up Information Exchange after 2008 Riots Rocked Montreal North

Montreal Police consulted with the Canadian Forces on urban warfare tactics. Photo Riley Sparks

In the aftermath of the rioting that occurred in Montreal North in 2008, the Montreal Police consulted with the Canadian Forces to learn the army’s urban warfare tactics.

According to an article published by Rue Frontenac on Sept. 13, the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal’s assistant director, Pierre Brochet, met with army officers in October of 2008 to discuss a partnership on “risky interventions during a riot.”

Brochet told Rue Frontenac that the police weren’t used to the kind of rioting that occurred in Montreal North, specifically how to deal with police injuries incurred in action. In return, the police would report back to the army on the success of tactics used during a riot. Brochet did not divulge any specific details of the information exchanged between the SPVM and the Canadian Forces.

Riots broke out in Montreal North on Aug. 10, 2008, the day after a Montreal Police officer shot and fatally wounded unarmed teenager Fredy Villanueva. Three police officers were wounded during the riots, including one who was shot in the leg.

The news that police then formed a partnership with the Canadian army came as a shock even to members of the SPVM.

“This is the first I hear of any kind of cooperation between the police and the army,” said Yannick Paradis, a media relations officer with the SPVM. “I’ll have to look into it.”

The news also came as a shock to community organizer Steve Duvalsaint.

“Wow, I don’t know what to say,” said Duvalsaint, who works with a community group called Montréal Nord Républik. “It’s scary not only for the residents of Montreal North, but for Canadians in general.”

Since the Villanueva shooting and the ensuing riot, the relationship between police and people living in the largely Haitian neighbourhood of Montreal North has been strained.

“With the way things have been going [in Montreal North], I honestly can’t say I’m surprised to learn about this,” said Duvalsaint.
It is unclear if the partnership between police and army officials is ongoing.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 05, published September 14, 2010.