Civil rights group wants independent probe into heavy-handed altercation on metro platform
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, March 26, 2019 3:23PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 26, 2019 6:05PM EDT
A civil rights group is adding its voice to calls for an independent inquiry into the heavy-handed ticketing attempt by inspectors of a Montreal metro user who failed to pay his fare.
Juliano Gray met with reporters Tuesday to speak about the incident at Villa Maria metro station.
In a now widely-circulated video, the 21-year-old is seen being pummelled with batons by metro inspectors on the platform as they struggle to restrain him.
Gray narrowly avoids striking his head against an oncoming train.
"It was brutal and excessive force I haven't seen that in awhile and I wish I was the last one in Montreal to be hurt like that," he told reporters.
He admits he didn't have a valid ticket and was playing with a soccer ball on the metro, but he says didn't deserve the repeated strikes that have left him diagnosed with post-traumatic stress and cost him his job as a dishwasher.
The Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations is calling for a probe, following up calls last week by opposition city councillors and community activists who described the incident as an excessive use of force.
"Does that deserve that kind of beating? I would suggest it doesn't," said Alain Babineau of CRARR.
"We're very shocked and disturbed I think anybody in Montreal would be equally shocked that an investigation took place without witnesses," added Fo Niemi, also of CRARR.
The Montreal Transit Corp. has said its investigation into the incident is complete and proper enforcement procedures were followed.
"We looked at every tapes that were done with the cameras from the metro car on the platform and that investigation the conclusion was the the protocol was respected," said STM chair Philippe Schnobb in an interview last week.
Schnobb admitted that investigators never spoke to Gray about what transpired.
"We were not in the situation where it was easy to find the person," he said.
Civil rights lawyer Julius Grey said the STM must hear Gray's side.
"It certainly appears to me to be a highly irregular inquiry. And something that brings up a suggestion of major unfairness," he said.
The STM declined another interview into the matter on Tuesday, but said Montreal police are investigating the incident. The SPVM would not confirm that information.
- With files from CTV Montreal