This is the eighth time that the Quebec police ethics committee has ruled against Const. Éric Locas.
Dario Ayala / The Gazette
The Quebec police ethics committee is suspending Const. Éric Locas for 20 days without pay after he neglected a woman’s safety during a traffic stop, then contacted her after she filed a complaint against him.This is the eighth time that the committee has ruled against Locas, finding him in violation of the ethics code by which all Quebec officers must abide.While Quebec’s ethics commissioner initially recommended the penalty last September, the veteran SPVM officer and his lawyers argued that a two-day suspension would be a “more reasonable” punishment, prompting the police ethics committee to review the case. In an ethics report published on July 18, committee judge Pierre Drouin sided with the commissioner, imposing the 20-day suspension and saying that Locas “has shown a lack of judgment in many of his decisions and does not seem to learn from his mistakes.”According to the ethics report, in February 2016, Locas stopped Nacéra Ziane just before 7 a.m. as she was driving along Highway 40, claiming that she had turned her headlights off too early.The report says Ziane was confused about the traffic violation and engaged in a heated exchange with Locas, which ended with the officer placing the ticket under the her windshield wiper, rather than handing it to her. Locas then drove off, forcing Ziane to get out of her car to fetch the ticket during the morning rush hour.Months later, Ziane filed a complaint with the commissioner, saying she felt unsafe when she was forced to exit her car. Once he heard that a complaint had been filed against him, the officer contacted Ziane by telephone on two separate occasions, leaving her “panicked and scared.”While making his initial recommendation, the commissioner said Locas compromised Ziane’s safety and that, given the officer’s 24 years of experience, he “knew or ought to have known that it was inappropriate” to reach out to the complainant.In its report, the ethics committee echoed the commissioner’s sentiments, saying that Locas’s behaviour “is certainly not what citizens expect from a police officer, whose primary mandate is to watch over safety.”Locas has been sanctioned on seven previous occasions, with the first dating back to November 2000, when Locas was reprimanded for neglecting to carry out a basic check in the police department’s computer network concerning a missing minor. He was also disciplined for failing to maintain trust, abusing the power of his position and failing to collaborate with the administration of justice.The case with Ziane is also not the first time Locas has been sanctioned by the ethics committee for inappropriate communication. In a 2016 incident, the officer contacted the employer of a person to whom he had given a statement of offence, to complain about the person’s attitude. Locas eventually received a 12-day suspension without pay for disclosing personal information to a third party.In June, the committee ruled that Locas had breached the police code of ethics after the officer told a Muslim motorist that he “didn’t care about his (morning) prayers” when he pulled him over on Papineau Ave. in 2017. In the judgment, the committee found Locas’s words to be objectively insulting, inappropriate and showing a lack of consideration toward the motorist. At the time, the committee stressed that Locas “would be best to review his way of interacting with citizens to avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary court proceedings.”The Montreal police did not respond to an interview request from the Montreal Gazette.firstname.lastname@example.orgRelated