The mother of a 16-year-old Montrealer of Asian descent whose violent arrest in Girouard Park on June 29 was caught on camera is demanding answers from the city’s police chief.
Several groups are supporting Lisa Sim’s request to have any criminal charges against her daughter dropped.
Jia Li Ridell, a 16-year-old Westmount High School student was arrested and fined after she and a group of friends were caught drinking wine in a Notre-Dame-de-Grace (NDG) park, while failing to respect social distancing measures.
Videos of the incident show Ridell being shoved by officers and handcuffed while a group of onlookers are screaming. Ridell can be heard yelling, “this isn’t fair,” and asking the officers what she did wrong as they placed her in the back seat of the cruiser.
“No mother should live through this to see her child being violently treated in such an inhumane way by the police officers,” said Sim at a news conference outside the SPVM Station 11 in NDG.
“There are times Jia Li and I have asked her ourselves, had she been white, whether the treatment would have been different.”
Representatives from Montreal’s Filipino and Black communities are also asking the police chief to intervene, convinced racial profiling was at play and that officers could have handled it differently.
“We are faced with videotape evidence of excessive force,” said Yvonne Sam of the Black Community Resource Centre. “We call on him with urgency, this cannot be allowed to continue.”
“The case must be dropped, it’s so upsetting,” said Cesar Manuel from the Filipino Association of Montreal and Suburbs.
City councillor Marvin Rotrand claims it’s the third case of racial profiling by Montreal police officers in his borough in the last two weeks.
“If a situation cries out proving body cameras would be useful this one does it would tell us immediately what the story is,” said Rotrand.
Montreal’s Mayor Valerie Plante insinuated police body cameras could have helped explain more about what happened.
The mayor insists the city is working on various tools to help fight racial profiling.
So far, the teen has only received a fine from police, but Minority-rights advocates have promised to help Ridell if she ends up facing criminal charges.
“One of our senior counsels will be ready to represent the defender in youth court,” said Fo Niemi, executive director of the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations.
Montreal’s police chief Sylvain Caron has not yet responded to Global News’ request for an interview on the allegations regarding Ridell’s arrest.