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Quebec watchdog criticized over investigations of police shootings

Last Updated Sep 16, 2019 at 2:21 pm PDT

Cesur Celik, father of Koray Kevin Celik, delivers a statement as Tracy Wing, mother of Riley Fairholm looks on during a news conference in Montreal on Monday, September 16, 2019. The sons of both parents were killed during separate police interventions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

MONTREAL — Rights advocates and victims’ families in Quebec are calling for greater transparency from the province’s independent police watchdog.

A civil rights advocacy group, la Ligue des droits et libertes, told reporters today the watchdog’s rules of operation favour police at the expense of victims.

The group also questions whether the office, known as the Bureau des enquetes independantes, is as independent as it claims to be.

Quebec created the watchdog in 2016 following years of complaints and demands from citizens for an independent bureau to investigate instances when someone dies or is seriously injured during a police intervention.

Rights advocates lament the lack of criminal charges that have resulted from its investigations and are calling for a legislature committee to study the office’s first three years of operation.

The BEI has initiated 90 criminal investigations of Quebec police officers since it began operating in June 2016. Of those, 42 resulted in no charges and 43 remain open. Two officers have been charged with sexual assault and three files are being studied by prosecutors.

The Canadian Press