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Verdun resident upset with questioning by police during COVID-19 curfew check

Click to play video 'Montrealer snow-removal worker upset over run-in with police' Montrealer snow-removal worker upset over run-in with police
WATCH: A Montrealer is upset over the way she was treated by a police officer early Tuesday morning. The Verdun resident was on her way to work during the curfew hours when she was pulled over and questioned by the officer. As Global’s Tim Sargeant reports, she feels she was treated unfairly and has filed a complaint with police – Jan 12, 2021

Sarah Vresk is very upset with the way she says one police officer of the Le Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) treated her during a curfew check.

Vresk says two officers pulled her over not far from her Verdun home in the early morning hours on Tuesday to question why she was out during the lockdown.

She explained that she was an essential worker in the snow removal business and provided a letter of employment to attest to her profession.

Read more: Montreal family who received curfew tickets argue they should’ve been considered exceptions

But Vresk says at that time, one of the officers demanded to see inside her lunch box which was sitting on the passenger seat next to her.

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She initially refused, arguing there was no justifiable reason to look inside.

“I asked him why, he never explained. He just insisted and then threatened to give me a ticket,” Vresk told Global News.

She finally acquiesced, showing her food and drinks inside the box to avoid a fine and to be able to get to work on time.

But Vresk is very upset the officer demanded to see the contents, so later on Tuesday, she filed an official complaint with the SPVM.

“My complaint was that he had no right to search my personal belongings and also that he threatened to give me a ticket if I didn’t do what he said,” she said.

Read more: Police issue fines as Quebec curfew takes effect, cases continue to rise

Global News reached out to the SPVM, but no reply to our request for comment was received by publication time.

A constitutional lawyer, however, argues the officer shouldn’t have demanded to search her belongings.

“She showed them the letter and there was no logical reason for proceeding to inspect the lunchbox,” Julius Grey, a lawyer with Grey Casgrain, told Global News.

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Vresk says she filed the complaint hoping it will send a message that officers need to use more discretion during the curfew and that they shouldn’t abuse their power.

Vresk told Global News that if something similar happens in the future, she will accept the fine and challenge it later rather than relinquish her rights.

Click to play video 'Nobody’s safe from curfew tickets – not even (cardboard) children' Nobody’s safe from curfew tickets – not even (cardboard) children
Nobody’s safe from curfew tickets – not even (cardboard) children – Jan 12, 2021