Black Brossard man mistakenly accused of theft by bank files complaint for racial discrimination
A black resident of Brossard is filing a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission for racial discrimination alleging he was mistakenly accused of theft by the National Bank and publicly humiliated.
Armstrong Victor, 37, said he was accused of taking a bank stamp from the counter at the branch at the Quartier DIX30 in October 2017.
Victor said he had just left the bank and went to work at his job as a sous-chef at a nearby restaurant when mall security guards barged into the kitchen, demanding he return the stamp.
Victor said four guards escorted him back to the bank which later realized Victor had not stolen anything and offered him $50 compensation which was later increased to $500.
Victor called the offer insulting, saying it doesn't make up for being treated like a criminal and the public humiliation of the confrontation at his workplace and the guarded escort to the bank, where he's been a client for over ten years.
Armstrong Victor says he was publicly humiliated, disrespected after National Bank mistakenly accused him of theft and mall guards escorted him on a "perp walk" to the bank from his work at a restaurant where he was sous-chef at the time. #CJAD pic.twitter.com/DHHu7H63hE— Shuyee Lee (@sleeCJAD) June 14, 2018
Victor said he wonders if he'd have been treated differently if he weren't black.
Victor said he suffered from depression and anxiety for months after the incident and in February, he lost his job that he had held for three years.
Victor is seeking $10,000 in moral damages and is being helped by the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR).
Victor said he was prompted to speak out after the arrest of two black men for trespassing at a Starbucks in the U.S., saying he wanted to show that similar incidents happen in Quebec.
Armstrong Victor says he was publicly humiliated, disrespected after National Bank mistakenly accused him of theft and mall guards escorted him on a "perp walk" to the bank from his work. Says arrest of two black men for trespassing at Starbucks prompted him to speak out. #CJAD pic.twitter.com/weIpYMKPgw— Shuyee Lee (@sleeCJAD) June 14, 2018
Claude Breton, spokesman for the National Bank said racial discrimination had nothing to do with it, adding that the company is very multicultural and diverse in its staffing.
Breton told CJAD 800 there were some "bad moves" and some things could have been handled differently, for example why bank security wasn't called in first or why the bank didn't call Victor first about the stamp.
Breton said they are open to more compensation for Victor who they claim stopped contact with the bank after their $500 offer.
Breton said the stamp was eventually found and that it had been misplaced.
Armstrong Victor says he was publicly humiliated, disrespected after National Bank mistakenly accused him of theft & mall guards escorted him on "perp walk" to the bank from his work. CRARR exec director Fo Niemi says not only Black Lives Matter but Black Pride Matters too. #CJAD pic.twitter.com/dM9287olyj— Shuyee Lee (@sleeCJAD) June 14, 2018