Montreal police are investigating an incident in Outremont that left several children splattered with tar.
A crew was laying down asphalt at Durocher and Lajoie last Friday as several children played nearby. Tar spraying equipment was turned on the children, most of whom were Hassidic.
“The children were traumatized. The clothing was ruined, the bikes, the helmets; everything was ruined and we had a very hard time getting it off. They had to be scrubbed,” said Goldie Lax, who is the grandmother of four of the children.
At first it was ruled an accident, but now police say investigators have received new elements in the matter that is causing them to re-examine the incident – although police would not say what those are.
The street was being repaved at the time of the incident and children had been playing on the sidewalk nearby as a construction crew was working.
A crew allegedly asked the children to move and they didn't, or at least not immediately. That's when it’s believed one of the construction workers sprayed the children deliberately with tar.
“He asked the kids several times to move,” said Lax. “Either they weren't moving fast enough or it was hot and the driver was nervous. He sprayed them with tar.”
The question being raised is what motivated the worker to turn his equipment towards the children.
“I confronted him and asked him why he did it. He said because he asked the children several times and they didn't move,” said Lax. “It's not a reason to spray children with tar.”
Lax is seeking an apology and compensation from the construction worker.
It's a sensitive issue in Outremont, which has a long history of incidents between the Hassidic community and others.
Montreal police will not comment any further at this time but say the neighbourhood police in Outremont are working with the various partners in the community.