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Montreal, June 19, 2020 — A Lasalle Black woman is speaking out after the Montreal police failed to properly handle her complaint regarding a hate incident outside Place Lasalle last month.

The incident took place on Tuesday May 26, at approximately 11:40 am when Amanda W., a 30 year old Black Lasalle resident, was waiting in line in front of the SAQ store, in the Place Lasalle parking lot on Champlain Boulevard.

Amanda was on the phone with her boyfriend when she was confronted by a white man exiting the SAQ. The man walked up to her directly and began yelling in her face, “You couldn’t have f-g parked any closer to me, you f-g b-.” He then threatened to damage her car by bumping into it with his own.

Shaken, Amanda hung up the phone so that she could begin recording the man, afraid that he would make good on his threat to damage her vehicle. When the man realized that she intended to record him, he told Amanda, who was born and raised in Lasalle, to “go back to f-g Jamaica.” Stunned by his racist remark, she asked him to repeat what he had said, to which he yelled “Ya, go back to Jamaica!”.

Amanda was able to record the tail end of the man’s racist comment, and documented his license plate number.

“I immediately called the SPVM,” Amanda said. “The man uttered a threat to damage my personal property, came within inches of my face without a mask on, and then proceeded to spew racially charged comments at me. I was afraid for my safety,” she added.

The first 911 call was made right after the exchange. She was told that a police officer would meet her in the IGA parking lot outside of Place Lasalle shortly. After waiting for over 30 minutes, she dialed 911 again and was told that an officer would be arriving soon.

After waiting in the scorching 30o C heat, Amanda decided to drive to the precinct 5 minutes away from Place Lasalle, only to find it closed. She called 911 a third time, and was told that she could file a report online. Amanda said that she would prefer to speak to a police officer directly in order to show them the video recording she had.

She asked that a squad car be sent to her home to take her report in person. A police car finally arrived at 1:22 pm, but the officers refused to speak to Amanda face to face due to COVID-19, instead insisting on speaking to her over the phone from the car. She explained that she had a mask on, and that she would like to show the video she had taken of the incident, but the officers refused to speak to her in person.

Exhausted, Amanda reluctantly agreed to give her complaint over the phone, and provided the officer with a description of the incident, along with the man’s license plate number.

Once she finished with her statement, she was told that because the man did not touch the vehicle, there was nothing that the police could do. The police then left.

“I was dismissed by the SPVM. This man threatened to damage my personal property, and the officers didn’t even want to look at the video evidence and brushed off my complaint,” Amanda said. “Who do I have to protect me?”

Amanda wants the SPVM to acknowledge that they mishandled her case and vow to take hate crime complaints such as hers as well as other women of color seriously.

“The SPVM needs to say what it will do to rectify the very poor response to my call. And it should at least take in my complaint and investigate,” she noted.

According to CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi, “This is the same kind of reaction we hear from Asian women in Montreal who were the target of hate-motivated threat and harassment in the last few weeks. There is this feeling of not being taken seriously, as if the officers are not trained on hate crimes.”

CRARR will help Amanda pursue her case.