Andrew Denis-Lynch thought the night of March 7 would be like any other night out with his girlfriend.
That’s until the evening took a turn for the worse after a run-in with the Montreal police.
According to the Kirkland resident, just after midnight on March 7, he stepped out of the driver’s side of his girlfriend’s car in Côte-des-Neiges.
They had just got back from McDonald’s for ice cream.
The 26-year-old says he exited the car and near the driver’s car door, did a little dance to cheer up his girlfriend.
He said, a police officer spotted him from a few blocks away and pulled up beside them.
“The question they asked me was ‘why are you so happy?’. I found it kind of odd, because who asks why are they so happy?” Denis-Lynch said. “But I responded by saying because I’m in a good mood and I have ice cream.”
Denis-Lynch said what ensued was a barrage of questions: What’s your name? Is this your car? Are you drunk?
The 26-year-old said he insisted he doesn’t drink and answered the rest of their questions.
He said, the police officers then accused him of dancing in the middle of the street. But Denis-Lynch said he was right next to his girlfriend’s car.
Minutes later, five more police cruisers arrived on the scene.
Eventually, an officer handed a ticket to Denis-Lynch “for being a pedestrian and standing on the roadway to deal with the occupant of a vehicle” – a $48 offence.
“I was definitely scared for my safety when five more cars came up – six total,” he said. “Thankfully, my girlfriend, she’s white, because it could have went down as a different situation, if I was alone.”
The couple believes what happened was a case of racial profiling.
CRARR – the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations – agrees.
“The whole interaction, the escalation, a simple incident requiring six police cars,” said CRARR’s Executive Director, Fo Niemi. “At one point, they were surrounded by six police cars – many of them had their hands on the holsters of their guns.”
Global News reached out to Montreal Police but they weren’t able to immediately comment on the case.
Meanwhile, CRARR plans on filing a complaint against the officers with both the Quebec Human Rights Commission and the Quebec Police Ethics Commissioner.
“We think that it’s very important that the police chief states categorically, not his intention about racial profiling, but what specific steps he and his department are going to take in order to prevent this kind of incident from taking place,” Niemi said.
Denis-Lynch insists the main goal for going public with his story is to help create change.
“I just want things to change,” he said. “No more fear, able to just trust one another. Just one big positive vibe between the cops and everybody else.”