August 12, 2019 11:33 am
Updated: August 13, 2019 9:21 am

Quebec City police investigating after cop holds fire extinguisher while escorting suspect

WATCH ABOVE: Quebec City police open internal investigation after officers escorting a man suspected of setting his wife on fire are caught on video laughing and carrying a fire extinguisher. As Global's Anne Leclair explains, while some experts say the images make the force look bad, others say the officers were just going by the book.

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Quebec City police has opened an internal investigation Monday after images were aired on TV showing a police officer holding a fire extinguisher as he escorted a man accused of attempted murder and aggravated assault.

Frej Haj Messaoud has been accused of setting fire to his ex-wife on Friday night in Quebec City.

READ MORE: Man charged with attempted murder after Quebec City woman set on fire

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In a statement, Quebec City police says it is taking the situation seriously.

“Although the scene may suggest that it is a bad joke on the part of the police, it would be premature to draw any immediate conclusions without having taken the time to investigate to establish all facts and circumstances surrounding this event,” the force said.

The Brotherhood of Quebec City Police Officers issued a statement saying the fire extinguisher was “a preventive security measure” taken during the suspect’s transfer on Sunday, one day after his arrest in Drummondville.

“[We cannot] ignore the possibility that people may try to do to the accused the same thing that happened to his ex-wife. The police officers in detention asked the officers to bring a fire extinguisher while they accompanied him,” the statement said.

READ MORE: Police arrest suspect after woman set on fire in Quebec City

Brotherhood president Marc Richard noted people are “trying to make believe that police officers were so unprofessional.”

Messaoud is expected to return to court on Monday in Quebec City.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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