November 28, 2018 5:13 pm
Updated: November 28, 2018 6:54 pm

McGill student charged with stunt driving vows to fight ‘abusive driving while black’ OPP case

WATCH: Three Rwandan McGill University students say they were pulled over by Ontario Provincial Police on Nov. 21. As Global's Elysia Bryan-Baynes reports, the students claim the police officer abused his authority in a situation that the Center for Research Action on Race Relations is calling it one of the most contemptable cases of "driving while black."

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An international student from Rwanda is facing charges of stunt driving after being stopped by Ontario Provincial Police last Wednesday.

It’s a case the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) is calling “one of the most contemptible and abusive cases of driving while black that can put Canada’s record on anti-black racism under scrutiny.”

WATCH: An international student from Rwanda is facing charges of stunt driving after being stopped by Ontario Provincial Police.


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The driver, Jean Kagame, a McGill University social work student and past president of the McGill African Students Society, says he was stopped by police on his way to Toronto with friends.

“We had no idea what was going on. After 30 minutes, he comes back and he says: ‘You’re being charged with stunt driving and you were driving around 170 km/h and you will appear in court on this date (Dec. 13),'” Kagame said.

Kagame insists there is no way he was going above 120 km/h.

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“When I told the officer that I had a final term paper (due on Dec. 13), he said: ‘I don’t f—king care, get out of the f—king car and get into the f—king truck,'” Kagame said.

“He told me my car was going to be impounded for a week and my licence was going to be suspended for a week as well.”

He said he and his two friends, also from Rwanda, hesitated because they didn’t know what was happening.

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“When he said ‘get out of the f—king car,’ we were all scared so we got out of the car,” Kagame recalled.

“He said: ‘You have two f—king options, either get in the f—king truck or stay here in the f—king cold.'”

The car was towed away with the three men still inside, according to Kagame.

He said another officer then came over to apologize for what happened.

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The officer dropped them off at the Brockville train station because the trio could not get a rental car, said Kagame.

“It was really, really scary and humiliating. I just couldn’t believe that a police officer in this country could treat someone that way,” he said.

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Fo Niemi, co-founder and executive director of CRARR, says the charge, which falls under the Ontario Highway Safety Code, carries a penalty of between $3,000 and $10,000 as well as a possible six-month prison sentence.

“We have to call out this officer’s conduct because it harms not only the OPP, but it projects once again the image of Canada being a place where everyone who is young and black and drives anywhere, one can be stopped and subjected to this kind of gross abuse of authority,” he argued.

“We want to ensure that the Ontario government and all levels of government are conscious of the need to stop this sort of situation from happening.”

Kagame says the memory of the incident continues to follow him around.

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“Up to this day, I can’t help but see him standing on my right side, yelling at me to get out of the f—king car,” Kagame said.

Kagame, who has the support of the McGill Black Students Network and the Social Work Students Association, said he plans to do whatever he can to make it to his court appearance in Brockville.

Global News has contacted the OPP for comment.

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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