BMO apologizes after Indigenous 12-year-old girl and grandfather reported to police by staff

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The Bank of Montreal is apologizing after an Indigenous man and his 12-year-old granddaughter were accused of fraud and handcuffed at a Vancouver branch last month.

Vancouver police confirm they were called to a downtown branch after receiving a report of a “fraud in progress” on Dec. 20.

“Both individuals who were identified by the bank as suspects were initially handcuffed while officers investigated the claim. Officers confirmed the identity of the two individuals and confirmed that no criminal activity had occurred. The individuals were released and officers continued to complete the investigation and closed the call,” says a statement from the Vancouver Police Department.

The pair were reportedly at the bank to open an account for the 12-year-old girl.

The statement calls the incident “regrettable” and the department says the decision to use handcuffs is made on a case-by-case basis.

“Every call our officers attend is different and responding members make decisions on the investigation based on information they receive from the complainant and witnesses. In this instance, officers decided to use handcuffs to contain the situation while they completed their investigation.”

BMO issued an apology that appears to respond to allegations that the pair were reported and detained because they are Indigenous.

Police also say officers receive cultural competency training on an ongoing basis. 

This training is meant to prevent discrimination in policing and promote an unbiased approach to law-enforcement.

“The VPD are always looking at ways to be better at what we do and how to deal with each situation, especially sensitive issues and cultural differences,” the statement concludes.

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