Montreal pays $6 million and apologizes for mass arrests of protesters
Police use cayenne pepper during a demonstration in June 2012 in Montreal. (File photo)
A long legal saga pitting Montreal against thousands of protesters has ended in favor of the latter, who will share $6 million from the City after being subjected to mass arrests. /p>
The City is thus putting an end to 16 class actions concerning as many events that took place between 2011 and 2015. At the origin of their class action, the claimants were asking the City for $53 million.
The themes of the relevant protests range from the 2012 student crisis, to police brutality, anti-capitalist struggles and other events against government austerity. All have a common denominator: police forces have carried out mass arrests there, after trapping protesters in a mousetrap.
Between 2011 and 2015, social protest movements led to major demonstrations in Montreal. These demonstrations gave rise to police maneuvers of encirclement, detentions or statements of offences, it is noted in the decision.
One of the lawyers representing the members of the class action, Marc Chétrit, affirms that to his knowledge, the police forces have not used this maneuver since 2015.
The plaintiffs have argues that the police violated the fundamental rights of the protesters and caused them damage.
- Discrimination based on political beliefs;
- Illegal and arbitrary arrest;
- Attack on their right to liberty, security and integration of their person;
- Attack on their right to freedom of expression, violation of their right to take part in a peaceful assembly;
- Police abuse, etc.
(Source: Superior Court)
< p class="e-p">There are therefore 3,119 potential members who could obtain compensation. After attorneys' fees, they will each receive approximately $1,500 per arrest in the class action protests.
The fee agreements provide for attorneys' fees representing 25% of the amount paid by the City.
In addition to this amount, the agreement provides that the City will publish on its website, within ten days of the approval of the transaction, for a period of 90 days, a public apology.
“Certain actions taken by the police forces and the municipal administration with regard to the participants in the demonstrations targeted by these class actions have infringed some of their fundamental rights, thus causing them damage. It is for this reason that the City of Montreal publicly apologizes to all these people. »
— Excerpt from the public apology of the City of Montreal
Judge Martin Sheehan notes in the decision that several members indicated that this recognition was very important to them.
Some plaintiffs argued that the calculation of restitution, dealt with in four ” blocks” bringing together a certain number of cases, will ensure that some will receive different compensation while their damage is similar.
The judge underlines that despite this disparity, the method chosen is based on reasonable considerations.
The lawyers representing the claimants consulted seem quite satisfied with the agreement so far.
We fought a long-term battle that spanned ten years […] it's a victory all the way, reacted Me Marc Chétrit.
“We hope that this regulation will discourage any police force from carrying out these mass arrests, hampering the has the freedom to demonstrate.
—Mr Justin Wee