Indigenous man arrested with granddaughter at Vancouver BMO files human rights complaint
Posted November 23, 2020 8:01 am.
Last Updated November 23, 2020 2:33 pm.
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Indigenous man who was arrested at BMO’s Burrard branch in Downtown Vancouver last year while trying to open an account for his 12-year-old granddaughter is now filing a human rights complaint.
During the incident, both Maxwell Johnson and his granddaughter were handcuffed. The incident led to a police complaint commissioner investigation and an apology from BMO, but in a statement, Johnson says “we are filing these human rights complaints to seek justice for our family, our community, and First Nations, and so that other people of colour can feel safe.”
“Human rights tribunals need to hold institutions accountable for systemic racism,” says Johnson. “Visible minorities are under constant threat of racial profiling by organizations, and discrimination by police.”
In addition to filing a human rights complaint, Johnson’s lawyers have also released the 9-1-1 call transcript that prompted the police response. The police report that followed the arrest has also been released, with lawyers arguing that both “show a discriminatory train of thought” leading up to Johnson and his granddaughter’s arrest.2019-258074_R REDACTED
The incident took place on Dec. 20, 2019 after a bank worker reported the man and girl had produced “fraudulent Indian Status cards,” according to the VPD.
After handcuffing the pair, the attending officers “confirmed the validity of the cards” through speaking with the justice coordinator of the Heiltsuk Nation.
“Despite the suspicious circumstances, PCs determined that no criminal offence occurred and the cards likely presented as fraudulent due to clerical errors from Indian Affairs,” the police report reads.
The human rights complaint names both BMO and the Vancouver Police Department.