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Domestic violence: an Ottawa police officer ;avoid dismissal of tired activists

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During an argument in July 2020, Yourik Brisebois grabbed a kitchen knife and walked towards his ex to threaten to kill her. (Archive photo)

Radio-Canada

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An Ottawa police officer, who threatened to kill his ex by brandishing a knife at him in 2020, has been demoted for two years. Some people who work to support victims of violence against women say they are disappointed, but not surprised.

Community groups still hope to review the safety plan set up for the victim, who also works with the Ottawa Police Service (OPS). Before committing these actions, the sanctioned police officer, Yourik Brisebois, had worked for the Intimate Partner Violence Unit.

The 43-year-old sergeant pleaded guilty in October to two counts of dishonorable conduct filed by his department under the Ontario Police Services Act. He had previously been convicted of criminal charges and was given a conditional sentence, meaning he will not have a criminal record if he complies with the conditions of a three-year probation order.

During the internal disciplinary hearing, OPS prosecutors mentioned that an appropriate sanction could range from a 14-month demotion to dismissal. Ultimately, the prosecution and the defense agreed that Mr. Brisebois should be demoted for two years, from a first class agent to a second class agent.

In a decision issued Dec. 11, Superintendent Chris Rheaume accepted the joint proposal and sentenced Mr. Brisebois to demotion, meaning he stands to lose approximately $26,000 in salary.

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Mr. Rheaume wrote that he saw no argument or valid reason to change the sanction agreed to by the parties.

Earlier this fall, more A dozen women's rights groups expressed their disagreement with the submission and signed a public letter demanding that Yourik Brisebois be fired from the police force.

His continued tenure erodes public trust, endangers victims, particularly the victim involved, and sends a disheartening message to our community, the letter reads.

Activists also called on the police to make files involving Mr. Brisebois available for review, and for the City to redirect police resources toward community supports and services.

Ottawa's Interval House shelter is one of the organizations that signed the letter. Executive Director Keri Lewis said Tuesday the demotion was disappointing, but not surprising.

She said police officers should be held to higher standards than ordinary citizens, given that they can make decisions in cases of abuse in the community.

The demotion sends a strong message to survivors that Ottawa police do not take domestic violence seriously, she added.

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Keri Lewis is the executive director of Interval House shelter in Ottawa.< /p>

Community groups have attempted to secure a meeting with Ottawa Police Chief Eric Stubbs to discuss the Yourik Brisebois case. However, they were unable to find a date that suited everyone, so they are now planning to meet in January.

We look forward to talking more about it and figuring out what would be better and how we could get there, said Ms. Lewis.

For years, police have generally not responded well to cases of intimate partner violence, have had a very low charge rate, and have not handled cases of violence within their ranks particularly well. /p>

My message is: do better and let us help you.

A quote from Keri Lewis, Executive Director, Interval House Ottawa

Yourik Brisebois, the Ottawa Police Service and the Chief's Office police officers did not respond to requests made by CBC this week.

The Ottawa Police Association, the union representing officers, responded by email that Mr. Brisebois took responsibility for his actions and wanted to move forward.

With information from Kristy Nease, fromCBCNews

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