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City’s Caribbean community calling for meeting with Montreal police

Click to play video: 'Caribbean Festival organizers calling for investigation, apology following heavy police presence'
Caribbean Festival organizers calling for investigation, apology following heavy police presence
WATCH: The owner of a Caribbean restaurant and members of the community are calling for an investigation and an apology from Montreal police (SPVM) and the mayor. They accuse the SPVM of using discriminatory practices after responding to a recent noise complaint. Equal rights advocates claim the latest incident is a strong reminder that racial profiling continues to permeate the police department. Global's Tim Sargeant reports. – Jul 13, 2022

Members of Montreal’s Caribbean community are still in shock following the intervention of SPVM officers in their response to a noise complaint on June 24.

A fundraising event was underway in the parking lot at the Greenz restaurant on Saint-Jacques Street in Lachine when a couple of noise complaints were registered with Montreal police (SPVM).

People who were there say 15 officers arrived on scene, including from the SQ and RCMP.

“We want an apology. And we want an explanation as to what happened,” Gemma Raeburn-Baynes, the vice-president of the Spice Island Cultural Festival (SICDAQ), said at a press conference.

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Advocates for Montreal’s visible minorities argue this is a clear case of racial profiling by the police.

“In all my work in this area I’ve never seen the RCMP, the SQ and the Eclipse squad coming over for a noise complaint at a party,” Fo Niemi, director general of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), said at the same press conference.

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A spokesperson for the mayor issued a statement to Global News on the incident.

“The SPVM will be asked to meet the organizers and discuss this event in order to ensure the success of future editions and we will follow up on the file,” Catherine Cadotte wrote.

The owner of Greenz restaurant fears the large intervention by the police will hurt the reputation of his business and its bottom line.

“It was a very, very negative impact on the restaurant itself,” Leo Charles said.

The restaurant owner added that he’s never had a problem with the police in the five years he’s owned the restaurant but he’s not planning on hosting any more fundraising events this summer, at least not until he has a chance to meet with the SPVM or the city.

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