Montreal woman’s complaint after ‘brutal’ arrest dismissed once again by SPVM

Majiza Philip during a press conference at CRARR. Thursday November 21st, 2019. Noemi Cabana / Global News

A Montreal woman who says she was violently assaulted by four police officers is asking the SPVM’s ethics commissioner to review his decision.

On Oct. 21, the commissioner dismissed Majiza Philip’s complaint of excessive use of force.

According to the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), the commissioner said that although officers’ testimony was misleading, it doesn’t say that without a doubt they lied and cooperated against her.

READ MORE: Montrealer who broke arm during arrest wants complaint against police reopened

Philips says she will appeal the decision, but she says feels like she can’t get justice.

“To me that is just a very ridiculous decision, because it’s clear that they all gave different testimonies about what happened that day and I don’t see how contradiction is not lying’s ugly cousin basically,” said Philip.

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“The commissioner has to revise the complaint because it’s not fair for me to have to live every day knowing that these officers are walking, working and not being held accountable for what they did to me.”

The incident happened on Nov. 21, 2014.

Philip was leaving a concert when police officers wrote a friend a ticket for loitering.

The friend was arrested first. When Philip approached them to tell them she thought it was unjustified, she was also arrested.

She says police broke her arm and she now has a seven-inch scar and a metal plate.

Police charged her with assaulting officers and resisting arrest.

Her complaint for excessive use of force was dismissed by the SPVM’s Ethics Commissioner.

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But she filed a second complaint after a municipal judge ruled in her favour and said the officers gave unreliable testimonies.

READ MORE: Montreal woman sues city, police for injuries suffered in ‘brutal’ 2014 arrest

In her decision from December 2017, Justice Katia Mouscardy wrote that the officers’ testimonies “leave the court perplexed: how can the officers be victims of so much forgetfulness when the case had already gone through the police ethics process?”

“Having heard the testimony of the police officers, the court hasn’t got the slightest idea what the grounds were for Philip’s arrest,” wrote Justice Mouscardy.

CRARR says it was also revealed in court that one officer did not fill out the mandatory report on the use of force — a fact that the police ethics commissioner never noted in his investigation.

“Every day I have to look at the scar in my arm and it reminds me, every single day when I’m teaching a child and they ask me, ‘miss, what happened to your arm?'” Philip said.

“It’s a really hard thing to explain to a kid that police officers will hurt you and nothing will happen to them.”

In an email to Global News, Montreal police said they don’t comment on court proceedings.


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