Kenrick McRae, former Guyanese Assistant Superintendent of Police tells of his continuing
run-ins with the Montreal police department
It has become a cliché about Black men driving expensive looking cars being harassed by the police, but for Kenrick McRae of NDG, it’s a reality he lives almost every day… yes he says: “almost every day.”
That’s since he bought his Mercedes Benz ML500.
McRae, a former assistant superintendent with the Guyana Police Constabulary, says the stops have become so routine that on every occasion before he gets into his vehicle, he would walk around and make sure everything is in order: the lights, the tires, everything…
He also bought a small mountable cam recorder, which he keeps in his car to record his regular interactions with the police: “I have it for my protection and safety.”
And so it was on Friday, March 3, about 10:30 PM while he was “lawfully parked” on Westminister Avenue waiting on his girlfriend, a nurse, who was doing a transaction at the RBC.
He observed the police car coming from the opposite direction, driving slowly towards him.
“They stopped and began staring me down intensely, then they advanced and made a U-turn and came behind my car.”
Not too long after his friend came out of the bank and as she got into the car he told her: “I bet the police is going to stop me and harass me for no reason.”
So said, so done. McRae says as soon as he drove off, the red and blue lights on the police vehicle were blinding.
Of course, he knew the drill. As he was complying with the officer, handing over his documents, he asked if this was just another racial profiling incident.
He says the officer replied no, because I stopped you in the past and I’m just double-checking to see if this car really belongs to you.
He says the officer then came back and told him that he was also stopping him because his license plate lights weren’t working.
I told him that can’t be true because I checked them just a few minutes before and they were working fine. Then I dismounted my camera and went to the back of the car to record that the lights were working and I asked him: “Why are you lying?”
He said he then tried to record the unit number of the patrol car and told the officer that he will be making an official report of the incident.
That’s when they came at him demanding that he hand over the camera. He says when he asked them why, that’s when they came at him.
He says the two officers proceeded to rough him up and accused him of “coming at them.”
On that Friday night the temperature had dropped really low and he was feeling the effects of it.
McRae, who is off work on a disability after falling on the job at the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport, advised the officers that he’s suffering from dislocated vertebras in his neck and back, but it didn’t stop them from “pulling and tugging” him around.
He asked why they were doing it. They told him he was disturbing the peace.
He says after he was arrested his girlfriend, who recorded the incident on her cell phone, started to approach him to take the camera, but she was stopped by the officers who told him to give them the camera and they will give it to her, which he did.
But instead of giving it to her, they went and meet with two other female officers who came to the scene, and after about 15 minutes came back to the cruiser and started deleting the videos that he had stored on his camcorder.
Of course, he asked them they were deleting his personal information. They refused to reply.
Then a supervisor came to the scene, when McRae tried to speak to him, he walked away and told him that he didn’t want to hear anything.
Fifteen minutes later, he says the officers un-cuffed him, telling him that they didn’t find any charges against him. They told him to go and have a “better night” and was advised that if other officers stop him they will be “more brutal” with him.
McRae said he went home, immediately went on-line and filed a complaint against the officers.
He then called 911 and recounted the incident to the operator. He told him that she would have a police supervisor call him back. He says it turned out to be the same supervisor who was on the scene and refused to talk to him and again he was very aggressive with McRae and very defensive about the officers. That conversation went nowhere.
So the 45-year-old McRae persisted and called back 911 and spoke to another operator who conferred with her manager and had the commander for Night Operation call him back.
McRae said the commander had a more receptive ear and provided him with all the information he needed to proceed with his complaint, including the names of the arresting officers, their unit numbers and that of the supervisor.
McRae is hoping to proceed with his grievance against the SPVM and the two officers as soon as possible.