Montreal man files complaint after alleged police racial profiling
Published Thursday, August 29, 2019 1:09PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, August 29, 2019 6:10PM EDT
A Montreal man is taking legal action after he was stopped and questioned by police July 4 while walking with his wife Anna and 9-month-old baby in the Plateau.
Wayne King believes it's because he's black, and said this isn't the first this type of thing has happened.
King said he has been the victim of police stop and checks many times in the past including three times this year.
"It's very frustrating," said King. "It makes you feel like you're not a citizen of this city, like you're a second class citizen, like you don't belong here."
Police, he said, approached him and asked for ID on St. Laurent Blvd. near Rue Rachel as he and his wife were talking with a friend after dropping their other children off at daycare.
King said the police officers said they were responding to a complaint made against the man, but later changed the story saying he matched the description of someone they were looking for. The interaction lasted 15-20 minutes.
"I wasn't doing anything suspicious. I wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary," said King. "I'm a father of four, and I just take care of my kids with my wife, and this is an area where we are practically every, single day, so if it can happen here, where else can I go?"
King went to a nearby police station later to complain and was shown the suspect's photo, which, he said, was only similar in the fact that both men were black and had dreadlocks.
"I just turned my back to police and went to him and said 'I'm so sorry this is happening,'" said King's wife Anna Smutny. "That's all I could keep saying because it just felt so wrong."
Police declined to comment on the case while it's before the ethics commission.
The Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations is filing the complaints on King's behalf. CRARR advisor and former RCMP officer Alain Babineau said stop-and-checks like the one King went through are a civil rights issue.
"You don't have to show your ID but at the same time you have to understand you don't want this thing ot escalate," said Babineau.
The hearings on systemic discrimination and racism in Montreal will continue in the fall. Babineau said CRARR plans to raise the issue of making carding illegal at the hearings.
Earlier this month another man accused the SPVM of profiling him on four separate occasions, including handing him a fine while he emptied trash out of his car.