Montreal woman, allegedly roughed up by police, discovers she faces criminal charges
Majiza Philip says she’s shocked to find out she’s facing charges after an officer allegedly broke her arm
A Montreal woman who says a police officer broke her arm last November has learned that she is facing criminal charges in connection with the incident.
Majiza Philip, 26, is charged with assaulting two police officers and obstruction of justice.
Philip says she only found about the charges when she appeared at the Police Ethics Commission last week.
"I'm getting a lawyer and I'm getting ready to defend myself in court," Philip said.
The charges stem from an incident that took place one night last fall. Philip said her friend was getting arrested, so she intervened.
"I did what I felt was right. I asked a question...and I don't think I would do anything differently."
Philip said one of the officers then grabbed her and forcibly restrained her, which caused her to suffer a broken arm.
"I have six screws and a metal plate in my arm," she said.
Philip filed a complaint with the Police Ethics Commission in January. She told CBC that it was only after her first interview with the commission, on July 29, that she was told to call the court to inquire about pending criminal charges.
"They never notified me. No bailiff, no registered letter — anything. And they said in the police report they gave me two tickets, and I still have not received anything," Philip said.
Her first court date was in February, but Philip says since she was never made aware of any charges, she missed it. Consequently, the court issued a warrant for her arrest.
"The most important thing is to find out why she was not notified, especially when she had four criminal charges," said Fo Niemi, the executive director of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR).
Philip appeared in court earlier this week to have the warrant lifted, and the request was granted.
Philip said she wants to fight in court, as well as before the police ethics commission, adding that she believes she was mistreated because of the colour of her skin.
"My friend who was arrested, he's white. He was arrested, no harm was done to his body. I just spoke out for him and got manhandled."
The Montreal police department said it would not comment on the issue because the matter is before the ethics board.