Montreal man upset after police detained him in cruiser for jaywalking

Alex Costa says he has filed a complaint, but doesn't expect anything will change. Police declined a request for comment on the incident.

Alex Costa says he was 'treated like a criminal' while walking home from the gym late Tuesday

Alex Costa says he felt intimidated numerous times during his run-in with the police earlier this week. In the end, he received a $48 ticket for jaywalking. (Antoni Nerestant/CBC)

A Plateau resident says he was unfairly detained and "treated like a criminal" by Montreal police after jaywalking late at night.

Alex Costa was walking home from a workout at his 24-hour gym just after midnight Tuesday and crossed Duluth Avenue — but not at an intersection.

That's when he says two police officers approached him and told him he had jaywalked. He said he didn't even realize he was being stopped for crossing in the middle of the street, then was surprised because there were no cars or people on the narrow, one-way street.

The officers asked him for his name, and looked him up. He said the officer told him his name wasn't in the system.

They asked for ID, but he didn't have any on him. Then came more questions — where was he coming from, did he have a criminal record?

"Basically everything that I said, he's saying that I'm lying," Costa said about one of the two police officers.

They asked to search his person and his bag. At first, he declined. But then he felt as though the officers would use force to search him, he said, so he eventually complied.

His home is nearby, so Costa says the officers decided to take him there so they could prove who he was. Costa wanted to walk, but the officers wanted to put him in their cruiser.

"I said, 'I don't want to go in the car, I live two blocks from here.' He said, 'No, you're going to do it the way I want it.'"

Alex Costa said at first, he was confused about why the police approached him. (Antoni Nerestant/CBC)

Costa said he once again felt intimidated and decided to get in. When they arrived at his home, he stayed in the back of the car.

A disturbing episode

His wife, Michelle van Beusekom, said when the officer got to her door, he never introduced himself, only saying Costa was with them and they needed his ID.

When she asked what was going on, the officer just repeated they needed the card, so she retrieved his health card from his wallet and handed it over.

Ten minutes later, Costa was free to go, but not without a $48 jaywalking ticket.

Van Beusekom said she found the episode surreal and disturbing. She believes a simple run-in with police shouldn't have escalated so quickly.

"So if this happens to him as a 44-year-old man, what if it's a younger person, what if it's a person in a disadvantaged neighbourhood?"

Montreal police declined a request for comment on the incident. In September, police increased efforts to reduce the number of collisions involving vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. Those efforts include issuing more tickets.

Costa says he has filed a complaint with the police, though doesn't expect anything will change.

"I don't think that's a case of a bad apple. I think that it's systemic. I think that's happening all the time."

With files from Antoni Nerestant