TRACADIE-SHEILA, N.B. – More than 100 people marched through the small town of Tracadie-Sheila, N.B., today to pay tribute to a local businessman shot dead a year ago during a police drug investigation that went awry.
In November, RCMP charged two Bathurst City Police officers in the death of 51-year-old Michel Vienneau, who was shot in his vehicle near the Bathurst train station on Jan. 12, 2014.
A lawsuit filed by Vienneau’s common-law partner, Annick Basque, alleges that his death was caused by police negligence.
The RCMP have said their investigation revealed that Vienneau, who owned an electronics store, was not involved in criminal activity.
Camille McLaughlin, a friend of Vienneau’s for more than 20 years, says the march was organized as a memorial for a good neighbour and as a protest against the way local police have acted.
In response to Basque’s lawsuit, the City of Bathurst filed a statement of defence saying the officers were investigating whether the couple were in possession of illegal drugs after returning from a trip to Montreal.
The statement also says the officers clearly identified themselves to Vienneau and had tried to stop his vehicle before it accelerated, pinning an officer against a snowbank.
It says one officer fired at the car as it moved toward his colleague.
None of the lawsuit’s allegations or statement of defence have been proven in court.