Montreal

Black Coalition of Quebec files ethics complaint over video of Montreal police officer shoving man

The video shows an officer shoving a man who appeared to be backing away with such force that he fell backwards into a concrete barrier. The coalition is filing the complaint based on the video alone because it is in the public’s interest, the organization's president says.

Organization's president describes officer in video as 'very violent'

In the video, the officer pushed the man hard enough that he fell into a concrete barrier. (CBC)

A Quebec civil rights organization says it plans to file a complaint with the province's police ethics commission, after a Montreal police officer was caught on video last week shoving a man to the ground in a Chinatown alleyway.

"Why this violence?" asked Max Stanley Bazin, president of the Black Coalition of Quebec. "The police officer, he's very violent. He's pushing him on the street, the cement block. This is very dangerous,"

Montreal police announced last week that an investigation had been launched after the video began circulating on social media.

A spokesperson for the police said the SPVM's internal affairs department, the Direction de l'intégrité et des normes professionnelles, is overseeing that investigation.

In the video, a police officer is seen pushing the man, who appeared to be walking away from the police, with enough force that he fell backwards and slammed into a concrete barrier.

A witness told CBC the man had been sleeping in a makeshift shelter before an officer appeared to pull on a plank, causing part of the shelter to collapse on him.

Police appeared to be searching people in the alleyway, the witness said, and chasing the man in the shelter away from the spot — forcing him to leave behind his shoes.

"He's only sleeping on the street," said Bazin, who described the incident as an example of racial profiling and discrimination.

"There's no reason for this action."

WATCH | Montreal police officer shoves man to ground: 

Video shows man being shoved to ground by Montreal police

3 months ago
Duration 0:23
A video shared with CBC shows a man being shoved to the ground by Montreal police. The witness says the man was resting in a makeshift shelter made out of wooden pallets. Police say they are investigating the incident.

The man in the video was not acting aggressively toward the officers, Bazin said.

He said he wants to see sanctions levelled at the officer involved.

"The violence is not justified," said Bazin.

The Black Coalition of Quebec is filing the complaint based solely on the video because it is in the public's interest, Bazin said. 

"We cannot see this and not act."

The organization is also reaching out to the man to see how it can support him, he said.

On April 29, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said on Twitter that she was upset by the video and reaffirmed the police service is looking into the matter.

"The actions committed by the officers are completely unacceptable and cast a shadow over the excellent work of our police officers," Plante said.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

with files from CBC's Ainslie MacLellan

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