On New Year’s Eve in Gatineau, Canada, a city in western Quebec, a neighbor notified police about a residence where a group of six people gathered to celebrate, triggering the police to arrive just before midnight to confront the residents, which precipitated a violent brawl with two of the residents getting arrested. Part of the incident was caught on video and went viral.
“Quebec is currently in lockdown, meaning visitors from another address are not permitted inside people’s homes at the moment,” CBC noted. Gatineau is the fourth-largest city in the province after Montreal, Quebec City, and Laval.
Differing versions of what transpired were offered by the police and the residents; Lieutenant Éric Simard stated, “The recommended approach was preventive. The agents asked for their collaboration to put an end to the gathering, but they were rejected,” as the Journal of Montreal reported. Simard added that the police intended simply to warn the residents but ultimately gave out statements of offense, which can reportedly amount to $1,546 per person.
Gatineau police spokesperson Renee Anne St. Amant told Radio-Canada that the owner of the house would not identify herself and was uncooperative, stating, “At this point, the situation just got worse.”
Gatineau police spokesperson Mariane Leduc said Sunday that the two women who answered the door would not present their IDs, a criminal offense, as CNN reported. The Gatineau Police tweeted, “The individual arrested in the video had assaulted a police officer, hitting him in the face a few times.”
Mathieu Tessier said both he and his sister, who owns the residence, were detained by police. He claimed police used excessive force, adding, “The police cannot do what they did to us. They treat us like animals, like criminals.” He admitted that the group knew they were risking trouble with the gathering, but he added, “The worst case in my head, it was … like, a warning.” He denied assaulting an officer.
“Tessier said when his sister stepped out of the house to speak to police, she wasn’t wearing shoes or a mask. His mother then opened the door to ask her inside, which is when Tessier said things escalated,” CBC reported. Tessier asserted, “The policemen took [my mother’s] arms from the house and pulled to get her out.” He continued by saying he was hiding in the living room with his girlfriend and stepfather but intervened when he heard his mother scream.
As he placed himself between his mother and the officer, Tessier’s girlfriend started filming. He said, “When I see that he was pulling my mother out, I go in the middle of them so they can leave my mother alone so I can close the door and talk.” He claimed some of the officers were maskless, saying, “You’re supposed to protect us but right now you don’t have [a] mask so you put my life in danger.”
St. Amant said that one officer lost his mask in the scuffle, adding that because of the urgency of what transpired, officers had no time to put on masks.
Il faut que ça devienne viral. RT en masse les amis. La lumière doit être fait sur cet événement. pic.twitter.com/nnxsGcQcOn
— Nusakan (@Nusakan007) January 1, 2021