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Tennis star Felix Auger-Aliassime recounts police racially profiling his father
FILE - Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime returns the ball to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut during their tennis singles match of the Davis Cup final in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
MONTREAL -- Canadian tennis star Felix Auger-Aliassime posted a video on Instagram recounting his father being racially profiled by a police officer in Quebec City.
The message comes as protests continue across the United States and Canada, sparked by the death of George Floyd – a black man who died after being pinned under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer, who has been charged with murder.
The world's 20th-ranked tennis star was raised in Quebec City by his French-Canadian mother, Marie Auger, and his father from Togo, Sam Aliassime.
He speaks in the video about his father being stopped and quesitoned by a Quebec City police officer while driving a Mercerdes.
“We always think it might happen in other neighbourhoods and other places. That’s not true. There’s different types of racism,” says Auger-Aliassime.
“One day he was coming back home and going around the neighbourhood in his car and he sees a police car behind him,” Auger-Aliassime recounts.
He said the cop car continued following his father until he pulled over.
“At one point he stops on the side of the road a police car stops behind him,” said Auger-Aliassime. “My dad says, ‘Sorry did I commit any offence?’ And she says, ‘No, no. You didn’t commit anything.
“She makes him understand that it’s pretty odd or rare to see people of colour driving this type of vehicle in the neighbourhood. Basically telling my dad that the fact that he’s an African black man and driving a Mercedes is subject to being pulled over.”
Auger-Aliassime admits that his father’s story is not as violent as others such as Floyd’s in Minneapolis. However, the fact that someone tasked with protecting the public harassed his father is an example of how people of colour are viewed, he said.
“This is a little story. It wasn’t violent. Everything ended peacefully, but I think it’s a story to prove that these types of events create the frustration that we’ve seen lately. These type of events create what we’ve seen going on with George Floyd,” said Auger-Aliassime.
“It’s not only happening to others. It can be happening to their friends, their teachers, their coaches, and it happens to everyone… There’s still a long way to go in equality.”