The man who was violently slammed face first against a wall during a heavy-handed intervention by the Quebec police last year puts the City on notice for $400,000, he who is unable to resume his life as before because of the consequences.
Mathieu Gamache admits it bluntly, he has not been the same man since the evening of October 16, 2021 .
He was that evening with friends at the District Saint-Joseph restaurant-bar. The fault that will have changed his life was not wearing a mask, when the health rules imposed it. the subject officer did not hear him when he told him that he was going to put on his mask which was a little further away. This is where the intervention degenerated.
The images from the surveillance cameras show Mathieu Gamache being brutally pushed against a wall of the establishment, his head taking the shock. “All because I was dancing without a mask”, drops the man, bitter.
Existence turned upside down
It's because those few seconds have upset his existence, he explains in the formal notice that Le Journal has obtained. The shock left him with a severe concussion from which he still hasn't fully recovered a year later.
“I have a lot of difficulty with my energy. And I still have problems with one eye,” explains Mr. Gamache, who constantly has to fight to get the system to recognize the mess in which he is entangled.
He also says he has developed a strong anxiety and constant stress that cause him panic attacks. “I've never had this before and then I found myself lying in a ball crying next to my shopping cart at Walmart, not understanding what's going on,” he says.
These problems ultimately cost him his job as a sales manager at a manufacturing company. “The phone was ringing and I was no longer able to answer. I am unable to concentrate on anything, ”says the father of two children.
The man's split scalp after the altercation.
Loss of confidence in the police
If no settlement is reached soon, Mathieu Gamache says he is ready to go ahead with a civil lawsuit against the Quebec city. He and his spouse, present during the altercation, are claiming $396,000 in damages from the City of Quebec.
Courtesy photo Police officer Jacob Picard
The police officer who pushed him, officer Jacob Picard, is the subject of a claim for $30,000 “due to acts of aggression […] of extreme and disturbing violence”.
“It is the same policeman who is involved in several videos that we saw last year. But how many of these violent interventions were not filmed? That's what's sad, that's what needs to change, “insists the man, who says he has lost confidence in the police since.
“It's over. It's become that I tell my children that if something happens, we have to call the firefighters, ”he says, his throat tight.
The City of Quebec has declined to comment on the matter. The DPCP is still studying the file for criminal charges.
In addition to the after-effects, he must fight against the system
In addition to fighting on a daily basis against the after-effects he keeps from his violent arrest, Mathieu Gamache must fight against the system, which he accuses of having a de facto bias in favor of authority.
“Nobody really believes me, nobody believes that a police officer can do that”, says the man .
Even the Compensation for Victims of Crime program.
“I understand them not wanting to make a decision because if they compensate me, they condemn the policeman. But me, meanwhile, I'm waiting,” adds Mr. Gamache.
Even if he was not accused of anything in the end, the system still seems to doubt his version, adds his lawyer, Me François-David Bernier.
“As it is an assault by a policeman, he falls between two chairs, he falls into oblivion. And this, even if there is a damning video. […] There is a normal frustration for my client to see that we let it go in indifference, that the police officer involved today has his salary, despite the fact that everything was captured by the cameras », Specifies the jurist.
Mr. Gamache struggles to see his file recognized by employment insurance, in addition to fighting with his own insurance.
“I am constantly being asked for papers and as I did not have a family doctor, I have to go to walk-ins and tell my story to each new doctor. And each time, they don't really believe that I could be the victim.”
All his savings
Without income for several months, he also had to go to private neuropsychology and osteopathy to treat his injuries.
“It cost me all my savings. It cost me $15,000 just in neuropsy care,” he laments, adding that the whole thing obviously has an impact on his family.
“The police officer has been reassigned to administrative duties, but he has his full salary. […] And during this time, I still have trouble doing activities with my children because my batteries are discharging all the time, ”protests Mathieu Gamache.
Some interventions by the Quebec police that made the headlines
October 16, 2021
Intervention in the District Saint-Joseph where surveillance cameras show police officer Jacob Picard pushing a client violently against a wall.
November 20, 2021
Sur Grande Alley, the same policeman appears in an amateur video where he shouts at an individual “Do you want me to gas you, my ostie? before throwing him into a patrol car.
November 26, 2021
A client of the Portofino restaurant is beaten up by police officers from the GRIPP squad after he verbally intervened while the officers were talking to a friend of his.
< strong>Police officer Jacob Picard is involved in these three cases.
A total of five officers have been suspended in connection with these videos. They have since returned to their duties.
The BEI opened an investigation into the October 16 intervention at the request of the Minister of Public Security. Independent investigations have also been opened for some of the other cases.
Excerpts from the formal notice
“When Officer Picard placed both hands on his chest, our client made no gesture of resistance and even less provocative, offensive or defensive gestures against the police, which unequivocally demonstrates that it was totally gratuitous aggression. »
“Our client begs agent Jacob Picard to stop his aggression against him by constantly repeating to him that he does not understand why he is being treated this way, that he is not a criminal, but rather a father . […] To which the agent replies: “We don’t care about your children”, while striking him with additional blows to the ribs and legs.
“Worse still, while our client shows several signs of visible serious injuries […] the agents do not at any time offer to go to the hospital [ …]. The agents rather deliberately decide to ignore his state of health and drop him off alone at his residence. ”
“[Agent Picard] exhibited highly violent, casual and highly disturbing behavior for a police officer on duty in Quebec City. »
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Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7128