Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland
“Any instances of brutality” against “a Canadian, a visitor or a diplomat” is “totally unacceptable,” Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Tuesday in response to the August 2 harsh arrest of a Senegalese diplomat. in Gatineau.
The intervention of the municipal police that day has turned into a real diplomatic incident in recent days.
Last Friday, the Republic of Senegal claimed in a press release that one of its diplomats serving in Ottawa had been beaten in her home by police a few days earlier. His identity has not been revealed.
The police, Dakar denounced, would have exercised humiliating physical and moral violence on the diplomat by handcuffing and beating her during the operation. The main interested party should even have been evacuated by ambulance to the hospital, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Senegalese Abroad.
Invited by Dakar to denounce vigorously and [to] strongly condemn this racist and barbaric act, Chrystia Freeland rather played it safe when the press questioned her on the subject, Tuesday, in Etobicoke, a suburb of Toronto.
Any instance of brutality, police brutality towards anyone in our country, be it a Canadian, a visitor or a diplomat, is, of course, completely unacceptable, she said in English.
This is something our government is clear on, continued the Deputy Prime Minister, promising a followed. And I want to assure all Canadians and all diplomats here that we are very, very clear about that.
For its part, Global Affairs Canada issued a statement over the weekend in which it said it was extremely concerned about the alleged treatment of the diplomat by the police.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, tweeted Tuesday that she had spoken with her Senegalese counterpart, Aïssata Tall Sall. In particular, she would have repeated to him that Canada was impatiently awaiting a full investigation into the incident.
The investigation in question will be conducted by the Independent Investigations Bureau (BEI), which entered the scene on Saturday.
The day before, the Service de police de la Ville de Gatineau (SPVG) had issued a detailed statement to explain the circumstances of the controversial arrest. He said in particular that a policewoman had been hit in the face and injured during the intervention and that another policeman had been injured by a bite.
The SPVG had come to the scene to assist a bailiff. According to an order from the Administrative Housing Tribunal, a copy of which was obtained by Radio-Canada, the diplomat owed more than $45,000 in damages to her landlord.
The Ministère de la Sécurité publique du Quebec said for its part that a complaint to the police against the lady in question had been dropped by the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) because of the applicable diplomatic immunity.