MONTREAL POLICE OFFICER TOLD MUSLIM YOUTH TO “SHUT YOUR MOUTH” AND MOCKED PASSENGER’S SOUTH ASIAN ACCENT
Montreal, September 27, 2013--- Two Muslim youths in the West Island are filing complaints of discrimination against a Montreal police officer who told one of them to “shut your mouth” twice and who mimicked the South Asian accent of a back seat passenger.
What looked like a simple traffic stop last August in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, a West Island municipality, turned into a tense situation due to the officer’s openly hostile and offensive conduct towards the two young Muslim men, an older South Asian man in the back seat and the latter’s young daughter.
K. and his cousin A. were giving the older man’s car a test drive near A.’s house when they were intercepted by two police officers. One officer walked towards the car and immediately checked the back seat and inquired as to whether the girl was in the booster seat.
As the girl’s father barely finished explaining why he removed his daughter from the booster seat, the officer switched his attention to A., who was in the driver’s seat, and aggressively questioned him about driving with a child who was not properly strapped in.
Seeing that his nervous cousin had problems answering the officer’s questions, K. tried to explain but was immediately told by the officer to “Shut your mouth.” Shocked by the rude remark, K. said, “Excuse me?” The officer told him once again, “Shut your mouth.”
The officer then approached A. and required that the latter hand him the car keys, which A. did. The officer then turned his attention to the father in the back seat and asked about the car registration. When the father mentioned the name of the company under which the car was registered, the officer mimicked his South Asian accent and repeated the company’s name in a mocking manner.
After giving A. two fines, the officers left.
“We just couldn’t believe our ears. The officer’s conduct is so unusually hostile, contemptuous and disrespectful towards us”, said K. “It’s clear it’s because we’re young Muslim males”, added K. “And this was before the Charter of Quebec Values came out!”
“What I resent the most is the fact that he used foul language and mocked our friend’s South Asian accent in front of us, without any hesitation or remorse,” added A. “It’s totally unacceptable in this day and age to have such a biased person work as a police officer in Montreal and in the West Island!”
Both young men have retained CRARR’s help to file civil rights and police ethics complaints against the officer for discrimination, unprofessional conduct and abuse of authority.