I was in the metro some years ago when I heard loud voices and children backing away from metro security. Three very large white french speaking males were accusing three very small and very young black girls of illegally using an adult bus pass and using it more than once for more than one person which is illegal. Myself and my wife (who is white) watched from the sidelines as the situation escalated out of control. Both sides were screaming at the top of the scale now and with the language barrier I do not think anyone was getting their point across. It was at this point that the guards grabbed the girls and tried to arrest them. They were trying to drag the girls from what I could gather to a closed off room used for interrogation purposes and as a holding cell. The girls began to panic and demanded their mother be called and the police and to have a female metro person in the room or they were not going into the room with grown men alone. The metro security guards redoubled their efforts to haul the girls into the room.
The girls managed to pull free of them. Now a crowd was trying to stop the metro security guards from continuing this farce and endangering these girls who were now blindly running down the stairs with them in hot pursuit. The chance of them tripping and falling onto the tracks was getting very real. The metro security guards finally grabbed these little girls and forced them into a room where they could be heard threatening them saying now you will do as you as you are told. We have you now. The girls could be heard yelling keep your hands off of us and we want our mothers.
People were now calling 911 on behalf of the girls and no one would leave the outside of the door where the girls were being held. We banged on the doors until the police came so that the girls and the guards would know that someone was hearing everything. The police did come and were not happy that minor girls were being held without a female by these men. The police talked to us the crowd and told us that the girls were all right and that as soon as their parents came they would be going home. Some of us remained outside of the door until the children’s parents came. They thanked us and took our names in case they needed a witness to the events. We were never called so I guess the whole matter was settled privately.
My brother who is now close to 60 years old just recently was detained and roughed up by metro security guards returning home after a hard nights work. As he entered the metro he realized along with a group of people who were also entering the metro that the guy in the ticket booth must have went on a break, but as is customary left the greenlight to enter on signalling it was ok to pass. Three or more metro security guards were standing there watching everyone entering without paying and decided to intervene. They asked everyone to stop and wait to pay. When the people tried to explain that no one was in the booth and the light to pass was on the metro cops got rough.
They were herded into a room and pushed around. The security guards forced each person to declare if they had a pass that could have been swiped. When the supervisor came onto the scene he was worse than his subordinates and actually physically threw my brother out into the street shoving him in the face telling him to go home or else. They were each given $600 tickets for various metro rule violations. All of the people involved have instituted a joint suit against the metro, the city of Montreal and the offending metro policemen.
I understand the need for security in the metro, but this type of strong-arm behavior is becoming more and more the norm. These metro security guards really think that they are real policemen. They strut around often looking for trouble, or a chance to prove how tough they are. Here is happened to a girl going to mcgill University when she was confronted by metro security.
Racism beyond the Roddick Gates
By Marguerite Bravay
Racial profiling might not affect us at McGill, but it’s very real in the rest of the city.
In the past they would have been singled out in groups of one or two by gangs and made to see the error of their ways. This has not happened in a long time and I am not a supporter of these methods, but these types of heavy-handed tactics and incidences could trigger a resurgence of the old methods. Metros are very deep and often metro workers are vulnerable. Respect for the law must happen from both sides to avoid needless violence and confrontation.
No one is saying do not do your job. They are simply saying be fair and stop using excessive force. Realize that you are not police; you are just security.