CHÂTEAUGUAY DRIVING WHILE BLACK CASE: COURT HEARING CONTINUES IN DECEMBER 2016
Montréal, November 14, 2016 — The court hearing in the case of John Chilcott, the Black father who was intercepted by a Châteauguay police officer and pepper-sprayed while sitting in his car with his two young daughters, will continue at the Châteauguay Municipal Court on December 21, 2016.
The case made national headlines last December when Mr. John Chilcott, an English-speaking Black father who was tailed and intercepted by a Châteauguay police officer when he picked up his two young daughters for school. The police officer, Matthew Vill, who was dressed as a cowboy sheriff, demanded to see his ID and refused to inform Mr. Chilcott of the grounds for his interception. When Mr. Chilcott asked again for the reason for the stop, the officer pepper-sprayed him while he was still in the driver’s seat, with his two young daughters next to him. The two girls were hit by pepper-spray.
Mr. Chilcott was arrested, handcuffed and brought to the police station. He was later released with three fines totally more than $1,000. He and his two daughters had to go to hospital afterwards for treatment as they were still suffering from being pepper-sprayed. No one from the City has contacted the family since the violent incident to apologize or to enquire about the children’s well-being.
Mr. Chilcott sought CRARR’s help to file a complaint of racial profiling and civil rights violations against Officer Vill and his employer, the City of Châteauguay. His wife, Ms. Rosemarie Edwards, also mandated CRARR to file a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission on behalf of her two daughters.
Me Aymar Missakila, a lawyer working closely with CRARR, represents Mr. Chilcott in court. Last November 1st, officer Vill was examined cross-examined for almost four hours, until 11:00 pm.
The civil rights complaint will go to mediation on December 2, 2016. The couple is claiming $60,000 in damages from officer Vill and his employer, the City of Châteauguay.
“To this day, we are still surprised by the City's position about the abusive and reckless treatment of Mr. Chilcott's children, which clearly shows that to Châteauguay officials, Black lives, and safety, don't matter,” said CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi. “Had these children been white, one wonders whether they would be subjected to such dangerous and callous police treatment.”