Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montréal, November 12, 2012 --- The case of a 61 year-old Black metro rider who was intercepted, detained, physically assaulted and fined by three Montreal Transit Corporation (MTC) inspectors last winter will be investigated the Human Rights Commission and brought to a full trial in Montreal Municipal Court.

On the morning of February 21, 2012, Mr. Glenroy Valantine Rice took the subway to work in the Cote des Neiges district. As he was exiting Plamondon station, he noticed three white STM inspectors standing at the top of the stairs. Mr. Rice was intercepted by these inspectors and asked, in French, to show proof of payment, while other non-Black transit users were allowed to pass. Not being a fluent French-speaker, he did not immediately understand the female inspector.

He explained about his lack of fluency in French and asked her to repeat what she said. Since there was no response, he continued walking but was then physically blocked by another inspector. When he explained to that inspector what had happened, he was again accused of refusing to show his pass.

Mr. Rice was then surrounded, violently pushed on the chest and shoved up against a wall. He did not resist the inspectors but when he asked what was going on, he was told to “shut your mouth, you Black fool”. One inspector hit Mr. Rice’s hand violently making the cell phone he was holding fall to the ground. After threatening to handcuff him, the inspectors fined him $327 for obstructing their work.

Mr. Rice mandated CRARR to file a civil rights complaint against the MTC and its inspectors, claiming $30,000 in damages and calling for changes to the way inspectors interact with metro passengers and rules governing the use of force. Mr. Rice accepted mediation before the Human Rights Commission, which took place on November 6th. Due to the failure between the parties to reach an agreement, the case will now go to investigation by the Commission.

Mr. Rice also appeared in Court on October 23, 2012 to contest his fine. Since racial profiling was raised, Justice Sophie Beauchemin suspended the trial and required Mr. Rice to submit a formal motion to examine racial profiling and the way the MTC deals with this issue. It is important to note that during the trial, the cross-examination of the key inspector involved in the incident provided important information and opportunities for Mr. Rice to make his case at a later date.

“The use of excessive physical force during my detention is completely unacceptable, and if the MTC thinks that it is justified to treat a 60 year-old Black citizen like that, it is morally, socially and legally on the wrong side”, said Mr. Rice.

Mr. Rice’s ordeal continued when he and another Black community worker went to Police Station 26 in Côte des Neiges in order to press charges against the inspectors. He was provided with misleading information by a female officer at the front desk, who gave him a form to file a complaint with the Police Ethics Commissioner. He filed the complaint but was later advised by the Commissioner that the police ethics system only regulates police/peace officers, not MTC inspectors who do not have the same status.