Montreal police admit Berry skipped airport line
Published Friday, January 8, 2010 7:29PM EST
Embarrassed police say allowing Hollywood actress Halle Berry and her family to bypass lines at a Montreal airport during a period of tightened security was a mistake that will not be repeated.
"That was a personal initiative by the police officer in good faith, but unfortunately we don't support these practices," Insp. Jimmy Cacchione, who heads the 36-member unit that patrols Trudeau airport, told CTV Montreal.
"We'll make sure it doesn't happen again," he said.
On Monday, a uniformed Montreal police officer whisked Berry, her Canadian boyfriend, and their baby daughter past an airport security lineup while other passengers waited for hours.
The lineups were especially long due to new security measures put into place in the wake of an attempted terror attack aboard a plane on Christmas day.
"The husband of Ms. Berry asked if they could have a fast track to clear the customs and because they had the baby and they were late for their flight," Cacchione told CTV Montreal.
He said the officer did not recognize Berry at first, but her boyfriend, Quebec model Gabriel Aubry revealed her identity to the officer.
"The officer took the personal initiative to allow them to go through the line faster, but that's not something the Montreal police supports."
The officer will not be disciplined, but a memo was sent Friday morning saying that "unwarranted" escorting of passengers will not be tolerated.
"We've got to be objective in our duty and preserve our image," Cacchione said.
Cacchione said security will sometime escort those with disabilities, families with young children, or celebrities who have become surrounded by a crowd of fans, which could pose a danger. Sometimes celebrities are charged a fee to be escorted.
He said there was no commotion in the lineup at the time, so speeding the couple and their daughter through security should not have happened.
"It's usually a joint decision with the other partners involved -- like the carriers and U.S. Customs," Cacchione said.
A Canadian freelance journalist, Marieve Paradis said she saw Berry, Aubry and their nearly two-year-old daughter Nahla skipping the security line, while other families with young children were being forced to wait hours.
"It was just crazy how people were waiting in line, and there were other babies and other children in the line too. I mean, they should go first as well," Paradis said in a phone interview.
Passengers waiting at the airport told CTV Montreal they were upset to learn that a celebrity was given special treatment.
"It's not fair, we're all subject to the same security and same restrictions," said one man.
"You're an actor so that means you can pass everyone in line? Kind of stupid," said a woman.
But one mother holding her own baby said she doesn't see a problem with celebrities being given star treatment.
"It's probably not easy for them to be known and to travel and to face that," she said.
With files from CTV's Cindy Sherwin and The Canadian Press