TORONTO: Frantz St. Fleur claims he was racially profiled by Scotiabank
Published Wednesday, December 10, 2014 8:08AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 10, 2014 8:09AM EST
A Toronto man is suing a bank, his real estate broker and police for nearly $250,000 after he claims he was racially profiled when he was falsely accused of trying to deposit a fraudulent $9,000 cheque.
Frantz St. Fleur, who was a customer of Scotiabank for nearly 10 years, says he walked into a Toronto-area branch on a Saturday morning in April. St. Fleur says he wanted to deposit a cheque issued by RE/MAX into his tax-free savings account.
The $9,000-cheque was a refund for a deposit on a condo. The real estate company wrote him the cheque after the project fell through.
According to St. Fleur, a Scotiabank employee directed him into an office, where he was questioned about the cheque. He said a bank agent asked him for identification, and asked about why he was receiving the money and who had issued the cheque to him.
St. Fleur said he was then left in the office, and approximately 20 minutes later two Toronto police officers arrived at the bank. They handcuffed him and arrested him for trying to deposit a fraudulent cheque.
St. Fleur was driven to 43 Division, where he was put temporarily in a cell while police confirmed the cheque was in fact valid.
St. Fleur — who had never been arrested prior to April — was eventually let go, and he took a bus back to the bank to retrieve his car.
According to St. Fleur’s lawyer, he was a victim of racial profiling.
“We’ve come to the conclusion the only reason this was done is because Mr. St. Fleur is black,” Paul Druxerman told CTV Toronto. These claims have not been proven in court.
‘I have a right to be treated fairly’
His lawyer says on the day St. Fleur was arrested, the bank claims they called RE/MAX, and the real estate company told them the cheque was invalid. But according to a statement from RE/MAX, that phone call never happened.
“We have always taken the position that the cheque was valid. According to our phone records, we have no communication with the bank on this matter.”
St. Fleur says he later received a letter from the bank apologizing “for any offense” experienced. It also said the company would be “reversing the fees” on his account for “the last two years” as a “goodwill gesture.” That amount is less than $100.
“That letter was more of a slap in the face,” Druxerman said.
Scotiabank sent a statement to CTV Toronto, explaining that they treat all of their customers “fairly” regardless of their background.
“It is Scotiabank’s policy to treat every customer fairly and with respect regardless of race, national or ethnic origin, gender, colour, sexual orientation, or religion.”
The Toronto Police Services Board says it will not comment on a case that is before the courts.
St. Fleur says he is no longer a Scotiabank customer.