16-year-old Andrew Denis-Lynch drove his girlfriend and her teenage sister home after going out for some ice cream on March 7.
He got out of the drivers side of his car in Côte-des-Neiges, Montreal, outside his girlfriend’s home. He was doing a little dance to cheer her up whilst holding his ice cream.
He says a police cruiser pulled up and nearly cut him of! The two officers asked:
“Why are you so happy?”
He explained he was trying to make his girlfriend laugh and they hammered him with questions such as, Is that your car? What’s your name? Are you drunk?
Denis-Lynch doesn’t even drink alcohol and he told them so, they accused him of standing in the middle of the street but as he told them, he was dancing next to his car! Backup was called!
The Montreal Gazette reported:
By this time, the officers called for backup. The female officer grabbed his forearm at one point, he said.
Within minutes, five more police cars arrived on the scene. The officers disembarked from their vehicles and some placed their hands on their gun holsters, both Denis-Lynch and his girlfriend said.
The constable who had asked whether he was drunk wrote him a $48 ticket for “being a pedestrian and standing on the roadway to deal with the occupant of a vehicle” – a violation of the provincial Highway Safety Code. With the ticket in Denis-Lynch’s hands, all the officers got back in their cruisers and sped off.
“I was scared out of my mind,” Denis-Lynch recalled. “I was shaking.”
Helena Backa, Denis-Lynch’s girlfriend, said she’s convinced her boyfriend was the victim of racial profiling. So does the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), which plans to file a complaint against the officers with both the Quebec Human Rights Commission and the Quebec Police Ethics Commissioner.
“The backup they called for was excessive,” said Backa, a 23-year-old Concordia University psychology student. “I do feel he was targeted racially. They had their hands on their guns. I figured it was because he was black.”
Denis-Lynch said that weeks after the event he is still shaken and wanted to go public to raise awareness about the racial-profiling that is going on.
“Enough is enough. I want things to change. People should be able to trust the police.”
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