Clearing of STM security involved in violent incident sparks anti-brutality protest
MONTREAL -- Upset by the results of a review of a violent altercation involving STM inspectors in a metro station, dozens of Montrealers gathered on Sunday to protest against police brutality.
Around 100 demonstrators gathered in Jarry Parc as organizers said in a press release they were there to demand "both accountability and justice while denouncing police impunity and racism."
The group marched to Jean-Talon metro station, the site of the violent arrest that sparked the demonstration. Last week, a report was issued finding that STM transit officers followed their use-of-force training in the incident, video of which was shared widely on social media. The STM officers were detaining a woman who dodged the metro fare and tried to leave the scene, but the video showed one of the officers apparently punching her in the head.
The STM said the investigation showed the woman had bit the officer hard enough to break the skin but the woman's friends tol CTV News she required hospitalization after the incident.
The STM launched its own investigation into the incident, the preliminary results of which were then audited by lawyer Marco Gaggino.
Organizers of Sunday's march refused to speak to media and encouraged participants to do the same.
Starting this summer, STM inspectors will be reclassified as special constables with the power to make arrests and tow vehicles. Some activists have sounded the alarm over the change, saying the increase in power will not come with a corresponding increase in training. The STM has defended the increased responsibilities, saying they are necessary to keep public transit users safe.
- With reporting from CTV Montreal's Angela Mackenzie