A Canadian police officer who was captured on video pepper spraying students has been found guilty of assault by a court in Quebec. Stefanie Trudeau – revealed as the notorious “Agent 728” -was accused of using “brutal” force during an arrest she made in October, 2012.
In the incident Rudy Occhietti, 49, was drinking an alcoholic drink outside his home – in contravention of a municipal law. As Officer Trudeau continued to question him, a friend of Occhietti’s, Serge Lavoie, stepped in to defend him.
Pictures shown in court showed Lavoie in a chokehold subsequently applied by Trudeau. He said in court that he was sure he would die, telling Trudeau at the time that she was “going to kill” him.
Lavoie had been filming Trudeau’s interrogation of Occhietti on a cellphone, asking her why she was arresting the man, then calling her a “fat cow” whilst he shot the footage.
He’s also reported to have asked her whether she was the notorious Agent 728 – a then unknown officer who was caught on camera in May of that year pepper spraying some students demonstrating over a hike in tuition fees.
“Agent 728” refers to the badge number of the former officer, and became a well known moniker for the then-anonymous Trudeau in the wake of the controversial online videos. The 43-year old was training a new recruit, Constable Kevin Henri, on the night of the Occhietti incident.
Stefanie Trudeau now faces the prospect of six months in jail. It could have been worse. In 2014 prosecutors decided to treat the trial as summary other than indictable, which translates to a lighter charge to face in court. If found guilty, Trudeau could have been facing up to five years in prison for the indictable charge.
During his decision, Judge Judge Daniel Bédard described Trudeau’s actions as excessively forceful and “brutal.”
Trudeau left the Quebec police force last September, but had been suspended from duties after the September 2012 incident.