While the Montreal Police Service (SPVM) to issue July 8 arrest policy, citizens of the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce district (NDG) denounce an intervention deemed abusive by patrol officers in Girouard Park, where a 15-year-old Filipino girl was arrested on Monday for failing to respect social distancing . NDG citizens believe it is racial profiling.
“Out of 30 teens in the park, she was the only member of a visible minority, the only one to have been subjected to the use of force and the only accused of criminal offenses. We are obliged to ask if the breed has played such an intervention, “wrote Ramon Vicente, vice-president of the Association of the Filipinos of Montreal (APM), in a letter sent yesterday to the director of the SPVM, Sylvain Caron.
Several outstanding questions
In a video widely distributed on social networks, we see the teenager being thrown to the ground by an agent. After the arrest, other youths asked the police to justify the arrest. And they answer “that she does not respect the distance”.
“His alleged crime of social distancing does not deserve the type of force used by the police. She is only 15 years old and was by no means violent. This is not how we think policing should be done in Montreal. ” -Ramon Vicente, from the APM
At the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), director Fo Niemi agrees. “There are very disturbing aspects of the use of force, like a young girl who has not even shown any real danger,” he said. The fact that she has the only arrest also raises a lot of questions. ” Mr. Niemi says that we must focus on the de-escalation issues incessantly at the SPVM. “It concerns all citizens, not just people of color,” he implores.
The SPVM explains
According to the SPVM’s intervention report, quoted by publicist Véronique Comtois, the intervention took place shortly after 9 p.m. Monday evening. “The police were asked for assistance because cadets had observed young people not respecting the distance in the park. There was also alcohol consumption, the report said, “she said.
According to Ms. Comtois, the young woman “subsequently tried to flee, and to resist the arrest.”
“During the intervention, a group of young people surrounded the police, cursing them. So we had to ask for reinforcements to disperse them. ” -Véronique Comtois, from the SPVM
A request was sent to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP) to lay charges of obstructing police work for the young teenager. Mr. Vicente asked that the SPVM reverse its position, and quickly. “We are asking that the charges (…) be dropped, that the youth police team engage with teens in Girouard Park and that your service develop de-escalation policies,” he said.
A “serious incident”, according to an elected official
For Snowdon city councilor Marvin Rotrand, this incident is “particularly serious” because it shows completely unjustified violence. “We see the use of force against a young person who does not even seem to offer resistance or violence. She was even injured. It is unacceptable, “he said.
The idea of laying criminal charges is, moreover, “totally excessive”, added the elected official.
“It shows that there is a real problem. And this is another argument for equipping the police with portable cameras. This is the third event in two weeks that has caused concern in the neighborhood. ” -Marvin Rotrand
According to him, the City of Montreal must seriously consider starting a reform of its police force, as Toronto mayor John Tory is currently doing. In particular, he wants to create a new team made up of members from outside the police force to intervene in situations “where the police response is not necessary”. They would, for example, be social workers who would respond to calls not involving “the use of weapons or violence”.
“There are different and smarter ways to do it. And Montreal will have to be inspired by it, “concluded Mr. Rotrand on this subject.