Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montréal, April 21, 2018 - A Black female web developer and her white boyfriend are calling on the Mayor of Montreal and the Mayor of Le Plateau-Mont-Royal borough to take responsibility for the excessive force, abuse of power and racism with which they were treated two weeks ago by the Montreal Police in broad daylight, on Saint-Laurent Blvd.

On Saturday, April 7, at around 10:00 am, Brian Mann, Executive Director of CUTV, and his girlfriend of Haitian descent, Tayana Jacques, went out for breakfast in the neighborhood where they live, walking south on Saint-Laurent near Roy. Jacques had already been recovering from a major health issue for the last two months. They were talking and laughing and were soon intercepted by two police officers in a police car.

The two male officers told them that they were disturbing the peace with their loud conversation, which startled the couple. When Mann asked the officers if there is a law that forbids such conduct, the officers replied that they were the ones to decide on the loudness. Fearful of the officers' aggressive tone, Jacques merely turned to go back home (she lives across the street).

The two officers quickly jumped out of the car, grabbed her and threw her against the hood of the police car. She was searched, her private parts checked by the male officers who told her to shut up when she asked why she was being arrested, and ignored as she pleaded for a female officer to perform the search. Both officers kept asking her about drugs, which they kept doing even after when they drove her away around the block before releasing her afterwards.

Seeing Jacques abusively treated, Mann questioned the officers as to the reason of their violent handling of his life partner and he was told he would be arrested shortly. Feeling helpless and confused, Mann stood against a wall nearby while they handcuffed Jacques. Within moments, two more police cars arrived and three male officers ran towards Mann, grabbed his arms, kicked him in the back of his knee, punched him in the face and knocked him to the ground.

While he was being handcuffed and restrained in three parts of his legs, someone put a knee on Mann's face to hold it against the pavement. Mann was then pepper-sprayed and laughed at, while being called a “hippie”.

Mann was then thrown into a police car and detained for a long period of time while complaining of pain and asking for the handcuffs to be loosened. He would be eventually released. Mann had recently recovered from a pre-existing shoulder injury for which he had done physiotherapy for 2 years and is now forced to undergo treatment and possibly surgery.

While he was being arrested and kept in the car, Jacques was driven off and later released not far from the site of the arrest with two tickets, including one of $444 for emitting an audible noise “resulting from cries, clamors (...).” Mann also received a similar ticket.

Due to excessive force, Mann spent four days with a cough and breathing problems, torn shoulder ligaments and major pains in his knee and spine. Mann has also been ordered to take an EMG to assess incurred nerve damage from the overly tight handcuffs, as he continues to experience a severely reduced sensation in the back of his left hand. Jacques' condition has worsened due to the trauma of this incident. Both have lost total confidence in the police.

“We never thought the Montreal police would treat us like animals and criminals, especially since Tayana is a small, fragile woman, and I, a white male millennial whose apparent crime was to be walking in the street and being happy with the Black woman I love,” said Mann.

“This is racial profiling at its worst. It once again shows that some Montreal police officers are not fit to work in a diverse city like Montreal. They should be fired for their gross abuse of power and excessive force,” he added.

“My girlfriend and I are asking Mayor (Valérie) Plante and Borough Mayor (Luc) Ferrandez to tell us what they're going to do about this kind of racism and police brutality in downtown Montreal,” Mann insisted. “We say this to both Mayors: 'Show us how you will protect Black people and their loved ones in Montreal from police racism.' ”

While Jacques is recovering from the trauma caused by her violent arrest, Mann has sought CRARR's help in filing police ethics and civil rights complaints against the officers involved and the City.

“This horrific incident reminds us of what two Montreal police officers did in 2010 to Amal Asmar, an Arab Concordia student who was violently arrested downtown for resting on a bench at night and for yelling in pain when she was subjected to excessive force,” noted CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi.

“Amal received $1,000 in fines, including $620 for the same offense which Brian and Dana are now charged with. The amount of the fine may have changed, but the abuse and violence have not,” he concluded.