MONTREAL – A Montreal police officer who gained notoriety under the moniker “Officer 728,” after viral videos surfaced of her allegedly roughing people up, is being charged in court today.
Const. Stefanie Trudeau has been alleged to have used excessive force in one arrest and unnecessarily pepper-spraying student protesters last year.
It was not immediately known what charges are pending against the patrol officer, who has been suspended with pay since Oct. 2.
Const. Martin Simard, a spokesman for Longueuil police, said officers from his force helped Montreal police arrest the 40-year-old at her suburban home Monday night.
She first became an Internet sensation during Quebec’s student protests last year, when she was accused of aggressively pepper-spraying innocent bystanders.
Then she was accused of hurting a bystander in an incident that started with her demanding ID from a friend who was sipping beer by an apartment building doorway.
Trudeau’s arrest came after an internal inquiry into the officer’s behaviour.
Police Chief Marc Parent said last fall as the file was turned over to Crown prosecutors that nearly 30 police officers and 50 citizens were interviewed.
Trudeau was moved to desk duty and then suspended from the force with pay after videos of an altercation last October between police and a group of people surfaced on the Internet and TV.
Police intervened after men were spotted drinking beer outside an apartment and when one man complain about the alleged aggressiveness of police, he was put into a headlock, dragged down a flight of stairs and slapped into handcuffs.
A confiscated cellphone subsequently recorded conversations between the officers apparently without their knowledge.
In a profanity-laced explanation of the arrest, the people in custody are referred to as “rats” who stum guitars and wear the red square symbol of the student protest movement.
It was during those student protests that Trudeau first got the public’s attention when a video showed an officer liberally pepper-spraying demonstrators in May who appeared to pose no threat.
Social media lit up with outrage about the incidents and more than 200 people staged a protest calling for her firing after the second video surfaced.