Gatineau officer faces ethics scrutiny . . . again
Jean-François Blais, the police officer who was cleared of wrongdoing in the 2008 shooting of David Leclair, is once again facing the Police Ethics Board for allegedly violating sections 5, 6, 7 and 10 of the Police Ethics Code. The first incident occurred on August 16, 2012. While on duty, Officer Blais allegedly intimidated an individual, used abusive language, showed a lack of respect and made derogatory comments about the individual’s ethnic origin and religion. After taking the man into custody and placing him in the police cruiser, Officer Blais apparently turned on the vehicle’s heat during a hot summer afternoon.
He is also charged with discreditable conduct, excessive force, abusing his authority during an arrest, assault, disregarding the health and safety of an individual in his custody, and filing a false report during an incident that occurred on November 30, 2012.
In 2010, Officer Blais was charged with unlawful use of force and with neglecting the health and safety of Katalin Nanszak after her arrest in a domestic dispute in 2007. The complaint alleged that he failed to read Ms. Nanszak her rights, was disrespectful and brought a false charge against her. Ms. Nanszak claimed that Officer Blais hit her three times with handcuffs, dragged her to the squad car by the handcuffs, and pretended to be deaf when she asked for medical help. However, the Ethics Board cleared Officer Blais, noting that Ms. Nanszak was holding scissors when he entered the room and that she stabbed the couch cushion with the scissors. “They are undoubtedly potential weapons … Blais tried calmly but in vain to gain Ms. Nanszak’s co-operation, (but) she did not obey his repeated commands to let go of the scissors.” Blais had told his superiors that she fought with him and that he had been “bitten by a madwoman.” He was cleared of these charges in 2011.
Officer Blais faced the Ethics Board after shooting and killing David Leclair, a 35-year-old single father, in 2008. Acting alone, Officer Blais followed Mr Leclair into his home; beat him with his club and pepper–sprayed him; struck his mother, Dorothy, in the leg with his club; then shot Mr Leclair three times, including once in the back. Officer Blais was charged with acting carelessly and recklessly, using obscene and offensive language, demonstrating a lack of courtesy and respect, abusing his authority, and violating Mr Leclair’s Charter right to life, liberty and security of the person. The Ethics Board cleared him of these charges in 2009.
Officer Blais is the son of Pierre Blais, a jurist and former Cabinet minister, who served as the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal until June 2014 and currently as chairman of the Security Intelligence Review Committee.
The Ethics Board hearings for Officer Blais will be held on April 20 and 21 at the Gatineau Palais de Justice.