A former high-ranking officer is suing Repentigny police and ex-colleagues for more than $1.8 million, alleging that the work climate there was "toxic" and that the department's management was plagued by turf wars.
The flawless career of Daniel Archibald, a police officer since 1997, would have gone into a spin after his promotion to the position of assistant director of the Service de police de la Ville de Repentigny (SPVR) in 2017, according to what he claims in his lawsuit.
When he was hired, the director of the service, Helen Dion, would have mentioned to him "needing his help in order to redress the ethics within the service and more particularly the deviant behavior of certain senior leaders", we read in the petition filed. recently at the Joliette courthouse.
According to the situation depicted in the document of about forty pages, a senior officer dissatisfied with a reassignment, Guy Bélair, would have at the same time implied wanting to file a complaint of psychological harassment against the director.
Helen Dion would then have had "animosity towards the latter [...] and will use Archibald to help him catch Bélair at fault", can we read in the request.
Moreover, the deputy director Guy Bélair will be identified as a suspect for a series of thefts that occurred in the offices of the SPVR, it is reported. In November 2018, Archibald claims to have recorded Bélair without his knowledge, who then admitted to having stolen a file to shred it, out of revenge.
The ensuing denunciation will cause relations between Archibald and his peers to be soured, the suit alleges, because he would have thus broken the "Law of silence or omertà [...] which concerns the illegal actions of fellow police officers".
We would then have advised Archibald that he "will have wind in his face", he who claims to have then been insulted, intimidated and the target of hostile gestures by colleagues. To the point where the director authorizes him to carry his service weapon 24 hours a day.
The most serious event would have occurred when his new home suffered a break-in in April 2019. The crime would have been carried out by a notorious offender, but ordered by a police officer, Archibald claims in his request.
Meanwhile, the criminal and disciplinary investigations against Bélair were led by deputy director Sylvain Grenier, a close friend and longtime colleague who allegedly committed several obstacles, according to the prosecution.
Archibald would have liked the situation to be reported under the Police Act. However, the director would have strongly opposed it, in particular so as not to "lose her police station", according to the allegations of the request, which were not debated before the court.
In the end, there will never be any charges against Bélair.
Throughout this case, Archibald argues that his employer did nothing to protect him after he was "instrumentalized" by the police chief, and that he was constructively fired.
The former executive, who says he was diagnosed with post-traumatic shock, and his spouse are therefore claiming more than $1.8 million in moral and punitive damages from the City of Repentigny, director Helen Dion, Guy Bélair as well as Sylvain Grenier and Éric Racette, two other senior officers who allegedly participated in the climate of intimidation.
A scheme would have been put in place to exclude racialized candidates who wanted to become police officers in Repentigny, according to allegations contained in the lawsuit of a former deputy director of the service.
In August 2020, according to his petition, Daniel Archibald discovered "disturbing information" while investigating the issue of racial discrimination and lack of diversity within the City Police Department of Repentigny (SPVR).
Candidates had to submit their CV, but also a copy of their driver's license with photo, identifying their ethnic origin and height in order to reject all "non-compliant" applications, he alleges in his lawsuit.
Not invited to interview
Archibald would also have known that black police officers from other services did not understand why they had not even been called for an interview when they applied to Repentigny. He informed the director of the SPVR, Helen Dion, who refused to have the information verified, asking her to close the file.
He alleges that he also discovered that Assistant Director Éric Racette and his assistant Patrick Gaudreault covered up a "worrying" event involving an officer in connection with his major drug use problems.
The police officer in question was then involved in events where his impaired judgment was reported by the media and members of Repentigny's ethnic communities, according to the court document.
Excluded from meetings
Separately, Archibald alleges in his lawsuit that he was kept out of two meetings about racial profiling, one of which involved media management. He was however in charge of this file, as well as relations with the media.
All these allegations, which will however have to be proven in court, resurface after several incidents of racial profiling were denounced in Repentigny.