Close to two months after a young Montreal man was repeatedly hit with batons by inspectors in the Metro after skipping the fare, local politicians and advocacy groups are demanding an independent investigating into the incident. The coalition taking his defense is planning to table a motion at an upcoming city council meeting.
“No one at this table believes that justice was had for Mr. Juliano Gray,” said city councillor and opposition leader Lionel Perez.
“We believe there must be an independent inquiry.”
It’s the second time the same coalition has called for an independent inquiry into the March 7 incident. They hope tabling a motion to force a debate on the issue at an upcoming city council meeting will provide more answers and push for more action on behalf of the city’s administration.
“How many cases like this are swept under the rug and what can we do as Montrealers to make sure that our administration is held accountable?” the executive director of the Côte-des-Neiges Black Community Association Tiffany Callender said.
“This is not an isolated incident. That’s the unfortunate part.”
The Société de transport de Montréal (STM) conducted an investigation after the incident and ruled that the Metro inspectors followed protocol. The coalition questions the legitimacy of that internal investigation, claiming many key witnesses weren’t interrogated.
“This investigation took a whole three days. How can someone really believe that this was a proper investigation,” Perez said.
Juliano Gray attended the news conference, but he did not speak to the media on Tuesday. In a previous interview, the 21-year-old said he admitted to inspectors that he had jumped the fare and said he ran away from them because he feared for his life.
READ MORE: Video appears to show STM inspectors beating man at Montreal Metro station
“Look, when somebody doesn’t pay their fare, they’re liable to get a ticket. They’re not liable to get beaten and that’s what this case is about,” said city councillor Marvin Rotrand.
Gray has since filed a criminal complaint against both inspectors. Despite repeated calls for an investigation, Montreal’s mayor insists the STM is working on solutions.
“They are moving forward on what would be a good model for more accountability and one of the model that we’re looking in to is for the STM agents (inspectors) to become peace officers,” said Valérie Plante said.
She said the STM’s board of directors is working on a plan to give inspectors the same powers as police officers, but that’s the last thing the coalition wants.
“The STM’s proposed solution to give the inspectors more force in the future is not the solution that Montrealers want,” said Rotrand.