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Montréal, May 23, 2017 — The Châteauguay Municipal Court will render its decision on the three penal charges (tickets) against John Chilcott on May 31, 2017, at 1:30 pm.

Chilcott is an Anglophone Black man who was tailed in December 2015 by police officer Matthew Vill of Châteauguay, a municipality south of Montreal, while on his way to pick up his two young daughters for school, who were then aged 6 and 10. When the officer stopped him in front of his apartment building, Chilcott was already in his car with his two daughters. When he asked Chilcott to identify himself without telling him why, Chilcott asked for the reasons for the request, which were never given to him.

After a few more questions from Chilcott over the reasons for the ID request, the officer pepper-sprayed Chilcott, who was still sitting in the driver's seat, and then placed him under arrest.

More police officers arrived, and Chilcott was handcuffed, and then released. His two daughters were hit by the pepper-spray while sitting in the car next to their father, and had to be taken by Chilcott and his wife, Rosemarie Edwards, to the hospital for treatment afterwards. A few days later, Chilcott received three tickets in the mail, worth more than $1,000.00.

Chilcott decided to fight the charges in court, which he considers abusive and discriminatory. He and his wife also mandated CRARR to help them file civil rights and police ethics complaints against the officer and the City of Châteauguay, for racial profiling, illegal arrest, excessive force and reckless disregard for the children's well-being, among others.

After more than 1.5 years of trial, the Municipal Court will render its decision next week regarding the penal offenses. Racial profiling was raised by defense counsel Aymar Missakila during the trial, and is expected to be a key component of the decision.

As for their civil rights complaints, mediation at the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission, which was planned for May 23rd of this week, has been once again postponed due to a request from the city.

Finally, regarding the police ethics complaint filed by Edwards against officer Vill for his conduct that endangers the health and safety of her children, the Police Ethics Commissioner referred her file to conciliation against her wish.

Most cases referred to conciliation - an informal dispute resolution procedure - end up being closed by the Commissioner, and Edwards' complaint can meet the same fate.

One would have thought that officer Vill's action to pepper-spray Chilcott sitting next to his two daughters in his car, which strongly affected the latter's health and safety, is sufficiently serious to by pass conciliation and head straight to investigation, for possible eventual citations by the Commissioner for the Police Ethics Committee for sanctions.

One of CRARR's priorities this year is a documentation of how the Quebec justice system, including human rights protection agencies such as the Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission, the Police Ethics Commissioner, the Ombudsman, the Ministry of Education, and youth protection agencies, treat complaints of civil rights violations that involve Black and other racialized children under 14 as victims.