Friday, July 30, 2010

Bring in the clowns!

Judge: Motorist had right to call cops 'clowns'
By QMI Agency
Police officers in Quebec City and Montreal abandoned their uniforms for colourful pants and baseball caps in 2008 and 2009 while they fought for a new contract. (QMI Agency)

QUEBEC CITY – A motorist was well within his rights to compare two police officers to “clowns” for wearing camouflage pants and baseball caps on the job, a judge has ruled.

The driver had received a ticket in 2008 for insulting a police officer but the municipal court judge recently quashed the citation.

Judge Paulin Cloutier ruled the cops invited the comment by wearing non-standard uniforms as a collective bargaining pressure tactic.

Quebec City police stopped Claude Fortin in September 2008 for driving with an unpaid licence. As one of the officers was writing up a $430 ticket, Fortin said the officer and his partner “looked like clowns with their John Wayne-style cowboy pants.”

The officer responded by slapping Fortin with a second ticket for insulting a police officer.

Cloutier rejected the ticket, saying Fortin’s comments were an opinion and not an insult.

“The camouflage pants . . . deviated from the police dress code,” wrote the judge.

“Someone who voluntarily . . . deviates from the norm to evoke a reaction must accept that they will produce a reaction, even if it’s not the one they had hoped for.”

Police officers in Quebec City and Montreal abandoned their uniforms for colourful pants and baseball caps in 2008 and 2009 while they fought for a new contract. They went back to standard dress in April 2009 even though they’re still without a deal.

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