Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, June 18, 2013 --- Excessive use of force by law enforcement authorities on Black persons continues as a Black man in his late 50s was violently detained, handcuffed and ankle- chained by the Montreal Police while delivering newspapers downtown last April.

In this latest Driving While Black case, the man in question also ended up with three fines totalling $860 for having violated different provisions of the Highway Safety Code.

In April 2013, at around 6 am, Robert (not his real name) was in the process of delivering newspapers in the Saint-Henri district of Montreal. As he was turning onto Delinelle Street, he noticed that he was being followed by a police vehicle. Every time he stopped to deliver a paper, the police vehicle stopped as well. On two occasions, Robert even pulled his vehicle over to let the police vehicle pass, which it never did. This lasted for approximately seven to ten minutes.

Unaware of why he was being followed by the police, which rendered him confused and frightened, Robert called his manager and exited his car to deliver a newspaper. After delivering the paper, Robert started to walk towards his vehicle. It was at this point he noticed a male officer rushing towards him. The officer forced Robert’s right hand behind his back and then struck it with a baton. This caused Robert a tremendous amount of pain and the cellphone he was carrying to drop.

The officer then violently struck Robert’s right leg, just above the ankle, twice. The officer’s partner simply stood by idly and observed the “spectacle”.

Despite Robert’s repeated requests for information as to what was happening, the officer said nothing, handcuffed Robert, and shoved him in the police vehicle. While detained in the police vehicle, Robert noticed the arrival of two other police vehicles, which each contained two officers. A female officer, who was among those who had just arrived on the scene, dragged Robert out of the police vehicle and proceeded to cuff his legs. Robert asked her why she was cuffing his legs and she responded that she “doesn’t trust him”. He was then shoved back into the police vehicle.

Without explanation, the police officers provided Robert with three frivolous tickets. The first was for refusing to provide a peace officer with a permit. It was in the amount of $651. The second was for unnecessarily stopping a vehicle in a manner that blocked the flow of traffic. It was in the amount of $56. The third was for not obeying the orders of a peace officer who was directing traffic. It was in the amount of $161. An officer left the tickets on the passenger seat of Robert’s vehicle. Robert’s hands and legs were uncuffed and the officers simply drove off.

Needless to say, Robert has been both physically and emotionally scarred by this incident. With CRARR’s assistance, he has filed complaints with both the Quebec Human Rights Commission and the Quebec Police Ethics Commissioner, alleging race-based violations of his civil rights, including unjustified and excessive use of force.

“It is my hope that the Quebec Human Rights Commission and the Quebec Police Ethics Commissioner will recognize the grave injustice that occurred to me and take the appropriate steps to help right the wrong,” said Robert.