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Human rights complaint filed against BMO, VPD by Indigenous man and granddaughter handcuffed at bank

A human rights complaint has been filed against BMO and the Vancouver Police Department after an Indigenous man and his granddaughter were arrested while trying to open an account at a Vancouver branch of the bank last year.

Maxwell Johnson and his 12-year-old granddaughter, both members of the Heiltsuk First Nation in Bella Bella, B.C., were handcuffed on Dec. 20 after bank staff looked at the pair’s identification documents and called 911 to report an alleged fraud in progress.

Lawyers have now released a transcript of that call and a redacted VPD report that, according to a statement from the nation, is evidence of systemic racism.

“Max and his granddaughter deserve justice for the pain this incident caused, and BMO and the VPD must take steps to ensure this never happens again,” said Heiltsuk Nation Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett in the statement.

More to come.


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