About 50 Montreal police officers arrested themselves late Sunday night after they failed to respect a municipal bylaw that required them to provide themselves with their itinerary in advance.
“It was brutal,” said one arrested officer, who didn’t want to be named for fear of recriminations against himself. “We kept ourselves out there for hours in the rain, without the ability to go to the bathroom or eat.”
The 50 officers told themselves at first that their protest would be allowed to proceed despite being declared illegal under city bylaw P-6. But before the march could get going, things got pushy and the police quickly found themselves inside their own kettle.
“I thought, oh crap, we’re going to arrest ourselves,” said the officer, who showed off a bruise he said he got when he hit himself in the chest with a baton.
According to witnesses, the police kettled themselves for about three hours as they proceeded with self-arrests. It was longer than usual for such a small group because of the difficulty filling out paperwork and searching oneself while handcuffed, the officer said.
Police gave themselves a ticket of $637 for violation of the bylaw and illegal assembly, an amount multiple officers said was “absolutely outrageous.”
“It’s clear we’re sending a message to ourselves here,” said another officer, Constable Laframboise, who is also a union vice-president. “What happened to freedom of expression and assembly?”
A Montreal police spokesperson said the force acted properly, and was only restraining itself for its own safety and for the safety of the public.