MONTREAL – A 21-year-old woman is suing the Quebec provincial police for over $200,000 after having her jaw broken and her teeth knocked out by a rubber bullet during protests in Victoriaville.
Dominique Laliberté-Martineau from Quebec City took part in the protests against university tuition fee hikes outside the Liberal party convention on May 4, 2012, where a violent standoff erupted on the streets of a small city.
She claims that she was not involved in the escalating confrontations, but as she boarded a bus in the early evening, she was hit in the face by a rubber bullet.
Her jaw was broken by the impact and it also knocked out six of her teeth.
The most dramatic events of the Victoriaville protests took place on the same day, when gas, chemical agents and plastic bullets were used against protesters.
Another protester, Maxence Valade, lost an eye during the violent clashes, which also saw some demonstrators beat a provincial police officer with a stick.
At the time, a spokesperson for the Quebec provincial police suggested that the injuries were caused by projectiles tossed by other demonstrators.
However, police spokesperson Jean Finet later confirmed that rubber bullets were used in a strategy to deal with the more aggressive demonstrators.
“The Sûreté du Québec will spare no pains to identify the perpetrators of crimes committed here tonight,” he said.
Over 250 ethics complaints have since been filed against police.
Laliberté-Martineau’s lawsuit is expected to argue that the police used excessive force, as provincial guidelines for rubber bullets suggest that these are only to be fired when facing a clear and immediate threat.
– With files from The Canadian Press