Loading articles...

B.C. Indigenous man files human rights complaints over detainment at Bank of Montreal

Last Updated Nov 23, 2020 at 4:24 pm EST

VANCOUVER — An Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the BC Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. 

Maxwell Johnson’s complaint says both he and his 12-year-old granddaughter were detained last December by Vancouver police officers when they tried to open an account at the Bank of Montreal using their Indigenous status cards.

His complaint alleges that the bank called 911 over an identification issue because they are Indigenous, while it accuses the police of racial profiling that led to their detention and the use of handcuffs. 

Const. Tania Visintin of the Vancouver Police Department says in a statement that the circumstances are regrettable and that the actions of the responding officers are being investigated.

The Bank of Montreal could not be immediately reached for comment, but it has previously apologized for how the incident was handled, saying that it “does not reflect us at our best.”

Johnson is seeking compensation and wants a public apology from the Vancouver Police Board, the police department and the bank. 

Johnson released details of the human rights complaint in a news release issued on the website of the Heiltsuk First Nation in Bella Bella. He and his granddaughter are members of the First Nation in Bella Bella.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020.

The Canadian Press