WATCH: Repentigny cops hold black man at gunpoint — while his 8-year-old son watches
A black Repentigny man is launching a complaint with the police ethics commission and the province's human rights commission following an incident at a local park earlier this month.
Hèzu Kpowbié, 42, says in the late afternoon of Sunday, Sept. 15, three Repentigny police officers surrounded him at Du Moulin Park with their guns drawn — over a letter opener.
Kpowbié's 8-year-old son was with him at the time, along with some of his friends. One of them dropped the letter opener he was using to fix his toy car.
Kpowbié picked it up, put it in his pocket, and decided to continue watching a softball game.
And he says that's when the trouble started.
"About two minutes later, the cops arrived," he said. "He pointed a gun at me, asking me to drop the knife."
'You can search me'
Kpowbié says in a matter of moments, three police officers has guns pointed at him. At that point, he began fearing for his life — thinking, at that moment, about recent deadly incidents in the U.S. involving black men and police officers.
He was also wondering exactly what he had done wrong.,
'I was asking them, why do you need to point a gun at me?" he said. "I have nothing to hide. You can search me."
The incident was captured on cell phone video (see below). Kpowbié says police never apologized to him — to the contrary, they handed him a $150 ticket for carrying a weapon.
Kpowbié has enlisted the help of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), who plan on launching complaints with both Quebec's police ethics commission and the human rights commission.
The Repentigny police force has faced similar complaints before — in 2018, a 22-year-old black man, Stanley Jossirain went to CRARR's offices and showed reporters $1,500 worth of tickets he received from police in the space of five months, and detailing the constant harassment he had to deal with.
And last year, the Repentigny force was asked to pay $42,000 to two teenage boys, who had been accused of breaking the window of a BMW outside a restaurant in 2013, when they were both 12-year-old. They were apparently playing hide-and-seek outside the restaurant, where a birthday party was taking place.
CRARR says it has taken on no less than 10 racial profiling complaints involving Repentigny police.