A national Indigenous organization is demanding Saskatoon police publicly apologize to a man it says was racially profiled by officers.
The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) said the story of William Favel, who says he was roughed up over a jaywalking allegation, is a clear example of discrimination at the hands of police.
“Racial discrimination and profiling is in the bloodstream of all police departments across this country,” CAP vice-chief Kim Beaudin said during a news conference on Tuesday.
“It’s an everyday struggle for our people. Every flipping day.”
CAP’s news conference came after Global News first shared Favel’s story last month.
The Métis man said a confrontation with police happened on April 2, along 20th Street West in Pleasant Hill.
Favel said he was walking down the street when a Saskatoon police SUV passed him three times before stopping in front of him. When Favel crossed the road, he said officers followed, so he took out his phone and started recording.
In the video, Favel can be heard telling officers to get away. Police tell him to relax, that he’s resisting arrest and to put his hands behind his back.
After the recording stops, Favel said officers threw him to the ground, kneed him in the head and handcuffed him over a jaywalking allegation.
“They hurt me physically and mentally, emotionally, spiritually,” Favel said during Tuesday’s news conference. “They broke me right down.”
The Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) previously told Global News officers attempted to arrest the man for obstruction, for refusing to give his personal information for the jaywalking ticket. After he gave his information, he was given the jaywalking ticket, but no other charge. CAP wants the ticket withdrawn.
‘You walk in the ‘hood, you’re a hoodlum’
Favel said officers told him he was suspected of being in a gang because he was wearing a green hoodie.
CAP alleges police stopped Favel because he’s visibly Indigenous and “served the ticket to cover their misconduct,” the organization said in a news release.
“Just because you walk in the ‘hood, you are a hoodlum, according to the police department,” Beaudin said.
CAP is calling for the officers involved to be suspended or pulled off the streets. The SPS said the officers are still on duty.
CAP also wants the SPS to cover counselling costs for Favel and his family. The single father said his two sons, 17 and 24, fear for their safety after learning what happened.
Favel said he has been followed by police multiple times in recent weeks.
He has filed a complaint with Saskatchewan’s Public Complaints Commission. The SPS said it’s awaiting the findings.
“This independent process is important and must be allowed to take place so that all details are known before we respond,” SPS Chief Troy Cooper said in a previous statement.
“We also have a supervisor review files and a use of force evaluation that occurs internally.”
–With files from Ryan Kessler