Ottawa teen claims he was victim of police profiling
Police in Ottawa are investigating the claim of an 18-year-old motorist that he was stopped by an officer just because he's black, and that the officer hit him.
Chad Aiken says he was driving his mother's white Mercedes with a group of friends, most of them black, early Sunday morning.
Aiken's lawyer, Margaret Parsons of the African Canadian Legal Clinic, says her client wasn't speeding, or driving erratically, when an oncoming police car did a U-turn, followed him and pulled him over.
Aiken's lawyer says the officer taunted Aiken and tried to provoke a fight and when Aiken got out of the car, the officer hit him in the chest.
The incident seems to have turned ugly when Aiken asked the officer to identify himself.
The exchange was recorded on a cellphone.
"Is there any way I can get your badge number, sir?" asks Aiken.
"No. It's 666 [the sign of the devil], that's my badge number," says the officer.
"Why can't I get your badge number?"
"666, Const. Holland."
"You aren't going to give me your badge number?"
"You have two seconds to get into your car."
He then gave Aiken a ticket for a burnt out light over his car's licence plate.
Parsons says her client did nothing to deserve rough treatment, in fact, he should never have been pulled over at all. "The only reason that young man was stopped on early Sunday morning is because he was a young African-Canadian man driving a Mercedes Benz," she said.
Parsons says Aiken is still deciding whether to complain formally to police or pursue legal action. But Ottawa's deputy police chief, Larry Hill, says the police will do an internal investigation anyway.
"I have concerns whenever any police officer acts, or appears to act, in a manner that would be discerned by the public as less than professional. I think anybody watching that recording would have some concerns about that as well."
Parsons says it's not enough to look at what happened as a simple case of misconduct. She wants police to acknowledge that it's an incident of racial profiling and take measures to stop that practice on the Ottawa force.