The Val D’Or newspaper L ‘Echo reports that the life of Maurice Mowatt is no longer in danger, as the father of two young girls recuperates in a Montreal hospital.
Mowatt was found July 19 unconscious with a body temperature of 26 degrees Celsius. The doctors say it’s a miracle that he survived this level of hypothermia. He was operated on July 13 in Amos for his fractured vertebrae and then transferred to Montreal by plane the next day where he was operated on again.
But what happened to Maurice Mowatt on the morning of July 9? That’s the question that the family is asking now. They fear it is a case of police brutality.
At about 6:30 am on July 9, two SQ policeman from Abitibi picked up aman of 32 years old lying on the pavement on Harricana Street in Amos. They gave him a contravention for being intoxicated in public. They then drove him to Tom-Rankin Street. Those facts have been verified by the family and by the SQ. What the family is wondering is why Mowatt was then found outside of his home on this cold and rainy morning with a fracture to the 4th vertebra. No marks were found on his body.
The family has hired the services of two lawyers – René Martineau and Jocelyn Geoffroy – who are doing their own investigation. If the lawyers investigation finds this a case of police brutality, they will bring a formal complaint to the police deontology department as well as a civil lawsuit. According to witnesses, the policemen took Maurice Mowatt out of their car in an uncivilized fashion; throwing him on the floor like a sack of potatoes and then fled the scene.
He was then found an hour later suffering from hypothermia with a broken spine. The conjecture is that something happened between the moment he was picked up and when they let him at his house.
The family wants to know why, if Mowatt had a broken spine, police didn’t drive him to the hospital.
Quebec Public Security Minister Normand Jutras has also ordered an inquiry into the incident. The SQ received a complaint for “assault and battery” against the two SQ agents that picked up Mowatt that morning. Montreal Police will supervise the inquiry. Meanwhile the two SQ officers have been assigned to administrative duties during the length of the inquiry.