Student Denounces ‘Illegal Arrest’ During Anti-Police Brutality March
Dominique Rémy Arrested and Fined Without Being Told Why
March 15 started off as a normal Friday for Concordia engineering student Dominique Rémy. Little did he know that evening he would be headbutted, tackled, and arrested outside of his school without explanation following this year’s anti-police brutality protest.
He only had one class later in the evening, so he took his time to relax in the morning. Rémy woke up late, ate raisin bread, fed his cat, did his homework, and said goodbye to his father, who he said was getting surgery for a hernia.
Rémy loves ENCS 282—a technical writing course for engineers—and says he’s even one of the most vocal people in the class. He had no idea there was the anti-police brutality protest that evening but that, “Maybe I should after all this. All they’re doing is supplying more protesters with their actions.”
When his class in the basement of the John Molson School of Business building was over, his day took a turn for the worst. Leaving JMSB, he was faced with a spectacle of police officers.
“When I came out I saw no protesters, I saw people with cameras that looked like film students,” said Rémy.
“I saw… about 20 [police] cars with sirens on, driving down the street, then an army of cops in riot gear and an army of bicycle cops,” he continued. “I didn’t see protesters, I saw people leaving school and work.”
“I saw an army.”
The police were blocking the metro entrances, so he crossed the street to get out of the way and watched until they left the metro.
“Then the bicycle cops came and they’re the ones who were pushing and shoving people,” Rémy recalled. “One of them even rammed his tire on my butt from behind. I didn’t say anything, I took a step back, kept watching.”
“This is not right, how are you treating people like that? They’re not protesters. You’re supposed to be protecting people, not harassing them, no wonder they’re protesting you.” – Dominique Rémy
Rémy saw a Black person walking by, looking at his phone and not paying attention, who he said walked a little too close to the police. Rémy said police didn’t approach him as they did with everybody else, and that four or five officers swarmed him, two of them with their hands on their holsters.
Rémy decided that he should intervene and speak up.
“I know not to call cops names or threaten them, but I spoke up,” he said. “This is not right, how are you treating people like that? They’re not protesters. You’re supposed to be protecting people, not harassing them, no wonder they’re protesting you.”
Rémy said the officers looked down, seemingly ashamed, and let the student go. But, as he tried to leave the scene, he said an officer stared him down, pressed up against him, and headbutted him. Another officer advised his colleague to back away from Rémy.
Rattled, Rémy got a coffee in the metro’s Tim Horton’s, then got out on Sainte-Catherine St. and called his mother to check on his dad. Officers approached him telling him to get off the street, despite being on the sidewalk.
He said they said recognized him from earlier, approached him, and instigated, telling him to leave.
As he tried to leave, a cop blocked him with his bike. When he tried to leave the other way, he said another cop blocked him with his bike and he was soon pinned against an SUV. While Rémy attempted to squeeze through them and leave, as instructed, his leg brushed against one bike and he was tackled.
He was told he was under arrest, but wasn’t told why, nor was he read his rights, he said.
“I didn’t resist, I didn’t throw any arms, when I got down I stayed down,” said Rémy. “They pulled my arms and legs back, you’re tied like a pig. I had four cops on me, I’m not a big guy, it wasn’t required.”
Rémy said he was then paraded down Sainte-Catherine St. to the police station, which he was happy about because everything was caught on camera by reporters and passerbys.
Citytv released a video showing Rémy’s full arrest. In their reporting, two students said that he was arrested for no reason.
Montreal police told The Link that, “Upon verification, [they] cannot comment on individual cases,” though they typically do.
They declined to comment to any follow-up questions.
Having left his ID in his car, Rémy had to give the police all his information to confirm his identity. His bag was searched. He said that while he was trying to answer questions, one officer repeatedly told him to “shut up,” and was headbutted again.
He said he wasn’t processed and that police didn’t take his fingerprints. He was told he would receive a ticket in the mail, but he has no idea why or for how much. He said he was then told to go straight home, and that if they saw him again, they’d arrest him.
Defense lawyer Arij Riahi said arrests without a warrant for penal offenses, or tickets, are regulated under the code of criminal procedure, and officers must inform the person they’re arresting of the reasons for the arrest after asking for identification.
An officer has the power to arrest someone without a warrant if the person provides incorrect information when prompted to identify themselves. Remy said he was only asked for ID once at the police station.
“Following political demonstrations, we see cases like this on a regular basis,” said Riahi. “It is frustrating because not much can be done until that ticket is finally received.”
She added that tickets can come in within a week, but can also take up to a year.
“I don’t want to speak for them but that was probably a show of force for the spectacle that was that night, ‘don’t mess around with us or this is what happens,’” Remy said.