A Quebec legislator is calling for an investigation into a video that shows a Montreal police officer kneeling on the neck of a Black 14-year-old, his face pressed into the sidewalk, in an image reminiscent of George Floyd’s last moments.
Frantz Benjamin, a Liberal member of the Quebec National Assembly who represents the Montreal riding of Viau, says several constituents called him about the video. They say it evokes “collective trauma,” reminding them of Floyd telling Minneapolis police officers more than 20 times that he couldn’t breathe before he died on May 25, 2020.
The Montreal video was filmed by a passerby in front of a bus stop in the city’s Villeray district on June 10.
According to a spokesperson for the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), officers from Station 31 were responding to a call from Georges-Vanier High School about a fight involving more than a dozen young people from various schools.
The video, which was obtained by Radio-Canada, is about a minute and a half long and does not show the events leading up to the physical intervention.
It begins with two officers kneeling on a Black youth for approximately 15 seconds. They appear to be wrestling his hands behind his back. One has his left knee on the teen’s neck and face, and the other officer’s knee appears to be on the teenager’s lower back.
The youth doesn’t appear to be resisting or moving in any way. He cannot be heard saying anything.
WATCH | Video of the arrest (WARNING: Graphic footage):
Officers pin teen down
The two officers rise after about 15 seconds. The officer who had his knee on the youth’s neck stands briefly, adjusts the youth’s body position, and then kneels with both legs on the teen’s neck and back.
The officer stays in that position for another 37 seconds.
While still pinning the teen down, the officer searches a bag and hands an object to his colleague. That officer then appears to show the object to the camera, saying the teen was being arrested for having a stun gun.
Beyond what is seen in the footage, it is not clear how long the officer was on the teen’s neck, because the video starts and ends with him restraining the teen.
In a later interview, police told Radio-Canada that two minors were charged for carrying weapons, and an investigation is underway into the incident.
“If the use of force is not justified, the administration will take the required actions,” said SPVM spokesperson Insp. David Shane.
Shane urged caution when viewing such videos, as the camera angle could be misleading. Whenever an officer uses force, a report is filled out and it will be reviewed, Shane said.
He said police issued various tickets to several teens that day and made a few arrests including this case — for having weapons, a stun gun and bear repellent (pepper spray).
Shane said the video only tells part of the story. Before it starts, two teens refused to identify themselves, he said. They arrested one, patted him down and found the bear repellent, Shane said.
Read More at CBC