Ottawa man files police complaint after incident at shopping centre
Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Wednesday, July 31, 2013 5:33PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 31, 2013 6:24PM EDT
An Ottawa man has filed a complaint with Ottawa Police after he says he was assaulted by security guards at the St-Laurent Shopping Centre. Darius Martin believes racial profiling played a role in the decision to arrest and detain him. It happened yesterday afternoon and started off with a dispute over his friend's pants that security guards said were too low for the family-friendly mall. But Darius Martin says what happened after that shocked him.
“This is when they pushed me down to the floor,” says Martin, as he shows CTV Ottawa his scrapes and bruises, “I scraped my side.”
Today, Ottawa Police were photographing the 20 year old college student's injuries, as part of his complaint against mall security.
“I really want the public to be aware this is happening still and this has got to stop.”
Martin says he and a friend were at St-Laurent Centre yesterday visiting Martin's girlfriend when he says two guards complained that his friend's pants were too low.
“One of the security guards kept provoking and antagonizing the situation.” Martin says things escalated. The two were told they were banned from the mall and escorted outside where he claims he was assaulted.
“One (security) officer hit me on the side of my face, two (security) officers lifted my hand and two others pinned me down to the floor,” recalls Martin.
He says he was handcuffed and detained for nearly 3 hours, then fined $65 by the Ottawa Police and given a 5 year ban of the mall.
The general manager of the shopping mall is reviewing surveillance footage but says they have not yet been contacted by the police.
Mary Alkerton says the mall would "welcome a police investigation because we think it is important for our visitors and the community to gain a full understanding of what has been described as an intense confrontation. In the event that we are contacted by police, we will of course offer them our full cooperation, in addition to access to any evidence we might have such as records, reports and/or video recordings, all of which are part of our security system"
Shanice George, who works at the mall and knows Darius Martin, saw the whole thing.
"To me it seems like it was racial profiling,” says George, “just because they weren't doing anything.”
Security guards in Ontario have the power to ask a person to leave or ban them from private property. They can also arrest someone for certain offences and detain or search them. They aren't allowed to use unnecessary force.
Martin's aunt, who manages the Christian band for which Martin plays the drums, asked the security office to explain what the boys did but says she got no answers.
"I think it's crazy,” says Melissa Laguerre outside the Ottawa Police Station on Elgin Street, “At the end of the day the surveillance video will pick up what happened. The security guards had no right to detain him as they did.”