Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, June 11, 2010 --- A 15-year old Black female Cadet and her mother have mandated CRARR to file a civil rights complaint against the Montreal Transit Corporation (MTC) and a group of metro inspectors for racial profiling, excessive use of force and other violations of her constitutional rights.

The incident took place at the end of April, at around 11:00 pm, when the girl, a Cadet with the Canadian Regiment in Westmount, and her two friends were going home from the McDonald's on Atwater after their Cadet training session. All three are youths of color. They were stopped at Lucien L'Allier metro station by a group of inspectors to check for proof of payment of transit fare. After a brief exchange, one inspector forcefully grabbed the girl's wrist without justification; as she told him not to touch her, she was violently arrested and handcuffed, her shoulder being almost dislocated. During her arrest (she was handcuffed and forced to sit on the floor, with intense pain on her shoulder, while still in tears and shock), she asked for her asthma pump but the inspectors refused to hand it to her.

When her mother arrived shortly after the arrest, the inspectors were laughing at her questions related to the incident and her request for their names to file a complaint. One inspector even said, “What the f-k” to her, while another deliberately gave her a false name.

Due to her injury, the girl and her mother had to go to hospital on their own for care. She received two fines for failure to show proof of payment and obstruction of the inspector's work. At the hospital, when her mother called the police to press assault charge against the inspectors, the officers and their supervisor refused and told her to file a customer complaint with the MTC instead.

This is the third complaint filed by CRARR within the last twelve months against the MTC and its metro inspectors for racial profiling involving excessive use of force and violations of civil rights of young Black women. In less than a year, CRARR has filed civil rights complaints against the MTC on behalf of 12 Black men and women whose age ranges from 15 to 60 who were stopped, and in many cases, violently arrested or excessively fined (one Black couple received a total of more than $1,000 in fines). Four more individuals have also contacted CRARR subsequent to similar experiences and are contemplating legal action. Additionally, three men of color decided not to file complaints, for a variety of reasons, notably the lack of faith in the justice system.

A group of Black parents in the Snowdon-Notre Dame de Grace area is also contemplating legal action against the MTC for systematically stopping and fining Black youths in the subway.

CRARR will produce this Fall a systemic analysis of all its cases of racial profiling and civil rights violations in the Montreal public transit system, including the one that led the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission to issue in 2006, its first racial profiling decision involving the metro. In that case, the Commission awarded $15,000 in damages to a 15-year old Black male student who was violently arrested by a MTC metro security guard when he was leaving the Laurier subway station due to subway car overcrowding; in that same decision, the Commission also required the MTC to train its metro inspectors on racial profiling.