Human Rights Commission orders police officer to pay victim $17,000
Published Thursday, February 16, 2017 6:02PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 16, 2017 6:24PM EST
The Quebec Human Rights Commission has ruled a police officer must pay $17,000 in damages to a young black man.
In February 2009, Victor White, who was 15 at the time, was thrown out of a bus on Newman Blvd. in LaSalle by a black police officer.
"All these years after I still think about it. Sometimes my mom cries about it. Very sad," said White.
He and his friends had been kicked out of a nearby McDonalds because they were making too much noise. The group decided to get on a bus and leave the area.
White, who had a monthly pass, boarded the 106 from the back door, which is against STM regulations but is not uncommon when it is cold, snowy, or the bus is full.
"I got onto the bus, I hung on to the pole and I was talking to my friend and the next thing I know I felt someone grab me and I was like whoa, whoa, whoa. I looked back and it was the police so I let go," said White.
White said the officer threw him off the bus into the snow. He said the officer pulled his left arm, handcuffed him, and stepped on his stomach, ripped out his earring, then dragged him into the police car.
"I was bleeding a lot. I had blood all over my shirt," said White.
White was given a $118 fine for boarding the bus without paying and charged with obstruction of justice.
In 2010 he was acquitted. The Crown appealed the case and lost.
White says years later he still finds it difficult to trust police.
“It seems like I’m always a suspect. They treat every black guy who drives a nice car as a suspect,” he said. “It’s scary. It’s happened to a few of my friends. I didn’t think it would ever happen to me again but it has. I was shocked by it.”
White said he was pulled over last month in front of Simons department store without cause – a case of driving while black, he said – and claims he was rearrested without merit.
In its decision, the Human Rights Commission ordered the Montreal police officer to pay damages and take other race relations measures.
Most of the $17,000 will go to White’s legal costs, if and when he gets the money. The case is being appealed.
The Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) said this one of four racial profiling cases before the Human Rights Tribunal, and contended that Montreal policy have not presented a new action plan against racial profiling three years after the last one plan expired.