Montreal man to file complaint after being arrested trying to buy milk
Published Monday, February 20, 2017 8:07PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, July 4, 2017 10:04AM EDT
A Montreal man plans to file a complaint against police after being roughed up and arrested while trying to buy milk.
Errol Burke went out Saturday evening to his local depanneur, but before he walked inside he was arrested by police.
"As I went to open the door I heard someone screaming Stop, Freeze, Freeze, Don't move," said Burke.
He did so, and was immediately knocked into the wall by police officers.
"Two officers came running into the store with their guns pointed at me, bang, like that, in my face. So I freaked out and said what's going on and they dogpiled me, rammed me into the wall. They spun me around, put my arms behind my back," said Burke.
He said the officers handcuffed him, and told him to shut up and stop resisting even though he "was totally compliant."
Once close to half a dozen officers were at the depanneur, one told him that they were looking for a stabbing suspect.
"I said, 'What's the description of the suspect?' and nobody answered me. And I said, 'I guess he's brown, right? Like I am brown? So I'm him. I'm the guy!'"
Burke told them their description must have been inadequate since he had bicycled past two police cruisers on his way to the depanneur without those officers bothering him.
He was eventually released, and police asked him if he wanted to file a complaint.
Scared, sore, he just wanted to go home.
"I was so flustered, and so in shock that I just wanted to be away from these people," said Burke.
He since approached Fo Niemi of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations.
"It sounds like a case of mistaken identity, but it was badly handled," said Niemi.
He said that racial profiling by police happens too often.
"It's just like casting a wide net and basically subjecting every brown or black person to a police arrest and that to us is very abusive and dangerous and could be discrimination," said Niemi.
Montreal police said the suspect they were searching for on Saturday was a black man.
Burke said that vague description was no reason for him to be roughed up, and has decided to file a complaint.