Montreal police kneeled neck Black teenager

A Montreal police officer kneeled on the neck of a Black teenager last week

Municipal and provincial officials are calling for body cams and an independent investigation.

There are renewed calls for mandatory police body cameras following the circulation of a video on social media showing a Montreal police officer kneeling on the neck of a Black teenager. The incident occurred near George-Vanier High School in Villeray on June 10, when police were reportedly responding to a 911 call about a brawl involving around 15 kids from different schools. Police spokesperson Caroline Chèvrefils told La Presse that two minors were arrested for carrying weapons. As for the choice of subjugation technique, Chèvrefils said in a statement that “an analysis is underway and we will not make any other comments for the moment.” 

“The images circulating are worrying. The current analysis should shed light on the intervention,” said Mayor Valérie Plante, stating that the incident “once again reiterates the importance of installing body cameras, which we are working on with our partners.”

Last summer, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, a motion was passed that prohibits Montreal police officers from using “any technique preventing the person concerned from breathing” except in the case of “last resort.”

City hall opposition is calling for body cameras to be fast-tracked and demanding an independent investigation into last week’s incident. Saint-Michel MNA Frantz Benjamin wrote a letter to Montreal police chief Sylvain Caron calling the images “shocking” and “outrageous,” suggesting this is a case of racial profiling and stigmatization of Black youth.

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