MONTREAL — A 25-year-old Quebec man appeared in court Monday in connection with a brutal assault against a Walmart security guard who was enforcing the store's COVID-19 public health directives.
Nacime Kouddar was formally charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, aggravated assault and failure to stop after an accident.
The guard, Phillipe Jean, 35, remains in critical condition in hospital. He was allegedly struck by a car driven by Kouddar and dragged on the hood of the vehicle for several metres, according to police.
The incident occurred around 5 p.m. Saturday. The suspect allegedly tried to enter the Walmart with his partner, only to be told one person per vehicle was permitted inside at once. Police said the suspect became frustrated and drove his car into the victim.
An online fundraiser for Jean's family has reportedly already raised about $14,000. Michael Baldwin, a friend of the family from the United States, created the Facebook fundraiser and posted Monday that Jean remained in a coma but was breathing on his own.
"His wife, Marylaine, was allowed to visit him, and he responded to her voice. That’s good news. Thank you for your support!" Baldwin wrote on the page.
Jean Pascal Boucher, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office, said Kouddar appeared briefly in court Monday afternoon. The defence wanted some time to review the evidence, Boucher said.
Kouddar is scheduled to return to court Tuesday, when a date will be set for the next steps in the case.
Also on Monday, the head of the Quebec branch of the United Steelworkers said security guards deserve a risk premium. Dominic Lemieux, whose union represents 15,000 security guards in Quebec, said his members are being posted in grocery stores, pharmacies and many other locations, to enforce public health directives.
Lemieux said his members deserve the extra money because they often have to get physical with people who refuse to obey distancing orders, and that puts the guards at increased risk.
"Private security workers are on the front lines," he said in an interview.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 6, 2020.
The Canadian Press