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Montreal, June 17,2009 --- A Chinese student who was the target of police misconduct and excessive use of force against him seeks financial support from the community to pay for his judicial review of the Police Ethics Committee decision that rejects his complaint.

In August 2007, Mr. Jinwu Yang, a Chinese-born student of Concordia University, was violently arrested by two female officers at the Shadd Business Center, a local vocational school, over a disagreement over course fees. School officials called the police as a result of the disagreement. Mr. Yang decided to wait for the police to explain his version of the story. Three hours after the call, two officers came and spoke to the school representatives, in French, and to Mr. Yang in English. After listening to the school officials, the officers then asked Mr. Yang to pay the fees or leave. Before Mr. Yang could finish explaining his version with his limited English, one officer tried to grab a receipt from his hand, in response to a school official’s request. Due to his spontaneous reaction to hold on to the receipt, the police officers jumped on him, pushed him out of the school, resulting in a scuffle and Mr. Yang being handcuffed, pepper sprayed, beaten and arrested. Mr. Yang has been charged with four criminal offenses, including assaulting a police officer and yelling in a public place.

Mr. Yang filed a complaint with the Quebec Police Ethics Commissioner within days of the incident, in which he complained about the treatment. The Commissioner is an independent provincial civilian agency in charge of public complaints against the police in Quebec for not respecting the Code of Police Ethics. If the Commissioner upholds a citizen’s complaint against the police after investigating it, it will bring the case before the Police Ethics Committee, an independent tribunal, to seek sanctions against the officers. CRARR intervened to help Mr. Yang after he filed his complaint on his own and needed assistance.

In July 2008, the Commissioner dismissed his complaint, stopping short of questioning the officers’ interference in what was essentially a private civil dispute. After reviewing the decision with CRARR, Mr. Yang immediately filed an appeal to the Police Ethics Committee to review and reverse the Commissioner’s decision since it contains numerous problems such as:

➢ Incomplete information and contradictions (such as the fact that all three school witnesses gave glaring contradictory testimonies but that the Commissioner ignored these);

➢ Errors (for instance, the Commissioner got both police officers mixed up in his analysis); and

➢ Bias (for example, Mr. Yang’s evident lack of verbal fluency in English, which could be at the heart of how he was treated by the police, was not taken into consideration).

The Commissioner’s understanding of Mr. Yang’s complaint was also questioned since his original complaint lacked clarity yet the Commissioner did not seek to clarify what Mr. Yang’s complaint against the officers was. Note that under the present system, police officers who are the object of citizen complaints have the legal right to refuse to cooperate with the Commissioner’s inquiry.

After hearing Mr. Yang, the Police Ethics Committee dismissed in March 2009 his appeal, stating that his problem lies in his linguistic deficiency. The Committee did not address the investigation errors and inconsistencies raised in Mr. Yang’s application.

In May 2009, Mr. Yang filed for a judicial review of the Committee’s decision. In his application to the Superior Court, Mr. Yang, through his lawyer René Saint-Léger, cited the numerous problems in the Committee’s decision which relies on and reinforces the Commissioner’s errors.

Due to the incident, Mr. Yang suffered negative psychological effects which hurt his MBA studies. Alone in Montreal and without financial means, Mr. Yang is asking for financial donation up to $3,000 to support his judicial review, which to him is a matter of vindication of his rights and justice.

CRARR supports Mr. Yang in his actions not only because of his right to the equal protection and benefit of the law, but also because the case can affect how all newcomers who do not speak English or French fluently are treated by the police ethics complaint system when they want to file complaints against the police for misconduct.