Black University of Ottawa student arrested by campus security; alleges racial profiling
Stunning video showed a young man followed and questioned by security at the University of Ottawa before being arrested.
"If you don’t start walking off campus I’m going to arrest you right now,” is heard from one of the men, who appeared to be a security guard confronting the student. “You’re under arrest for trespassing.”
The young man, seen carrying a skateboard, identified himself as a uOttawa student; he was without a wallet or identification at the time.
The student, named Jamal Boyce said he was handcuffed and humiliated for more than two hours; he believed he was targeted because the colour of his skin.
“He was detained without lawful reason and it's quite likely he can show being black had something to do with it, which would of course be discrimination,” said Amir Attaran; Professor of Law and Medicine at uOttawa. “It is not trespassing for a student to be on his or her campus and skateboarding is not a crime; so I guess this is about being black.”
In 2017, Attaran said security showed entered his office; following up on a 911 call that he said was never made. Security demanded Attaran, and his PhD student present I.D.; they refused.
“We live in a country of the rule of law, and the president could have and should have apologized for the fact the university did not respect his right to show I.D.”
At a press conference, Jacques Frémont issued a 3 minute statement.
“Racism has no place on our campus” he said. The university's president said an investigation is underway. “We must lead by example and make all possible efforts to call out and eliminate any systemic pattern of discrimination.” Frémont revealed the practice of asking for identification on campus, also known as carding or street checks, has been in effect for more than 27 years.
“They have my full confidence but of course, depending on the results of the inquiry we will look at whether disciplinary measures are in order,” said Frémont when asked whether the security guard in question has been reprimanded for his actions.
For many students of colour, including Katline Racine; a Master's student in Law; the university should apologize to the alleged victim and end the policy of street checks/
“The government of Ontario recently took measures to update those laws when it comes to the police service, so I don’t understand why the university is waiting until something happens to do the same,” said Racine.
Ottawa Police confirmed the man was arrested for trespassing and released unconditionally.