Five young black Montrealers complain

5 launch racial profiling complaints against STM
Last Updated: Monday, February 22, 2010 | 9:20 AM ET Comments35Recommend6

CBC News

Five young black Montrealers have filed human rights complaints against the city’s transit authority for racial profiling during routine fare inspections.

Samantha Hyman-Roberts, 20, one of the accusers, says she and the other four have filed two complaints with Quebec’s Human Rights Commission related to two separate incidents involving Montreal Transit Commission (STM) authorities.

Hyman-Roberts says she was riding the metro’s green line last November with two friends when two ticket inspectors got on her train and asked to see proof of purchase.

She says she didn’t have any because she had thrown away her ticket. Hyman-Roberts says that’s when employees asked her to get off the car, and when she asked why, the situation escalated.

“They dragged me on the platform. I was face down on the ground. [The worker] then picked me up and slammed me against the wall,” she told CBC News. “I felt like I had no rights, like an animal.”

She was issued a $214 ticket for not having proof of purchase, and was fined $324 for obstructing the work of a fare inspector. Her two friends were also ticketed for obstruction.

The three allege they were not randomly picked out of the crowd of passengers but were subject to racial profiling and were handled roughly, and believe they have grounds to seek $50,000 in damages from the STM and its inspectors.

Speaking out about the incident has made a huge difference already, Hyman-Roberts says. “It feels very good. I felt so much better after talking, about what happened to me. Some people, they turn a blind eye.”

The second incident involves two black men who say they were unfairly targeted by fare inspectors on the metro, and were ticketed when they couldn’t provide proof of purchase.

The two men are seeking $30,000 in damages.

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