Vancouver police apologize for falsely handcuffing black judge, aged 81, on his morning walk – after claiming he matched the appearance of a suspect in his 40s
- Selwyn Romilly, 81, was walking through Stanley Park in Vancouver on Friday morning when five officers made the attack
- They claimed he matched the appearance of a suspect allegedly prowling the area
- He was handcuffed in front of bewildered spectators and held for about a minute
- He was released after telling officers he was a retired Supreme Court judge
- Romilly says he is “ashamed” of the incident, but has no plans to file a formal complaint
Vancouver police have apologized after five officers falsely handcuffed and detained a retired black judge during his morning walk.
Selwyn Romilly – who made history in 1995 as the first black judge to be appointed to the British Columbia Supreme Court in 1995 – was strolling along the Stanley Park waterfront Friday morning when police attacked.
They claimed that Romilly matched the appearance of a dark-skinned suspect between the ages of 40 and 50 who lurked in the area. Romilly is 81 years old.
The retired judge said CBC he was turned in handcuffs for about a minute and that he was ’embarrassed’ by the incident because the park was full of people.
‘They said they got a report and I matched the description of a person. Without much ado, they told me to turn around, put my hands behind my back and put myself in handcuffs, ” he told the publication.
In a separate interview with The Vancouver Sun, he stated: “I told them I was a retired Supreme Court judge. I don’t know if that makes them doubt. ‘
Vancouver police have apologized after five officers falsely detained and handcuffed retired black judge Selwyn Romilly while he went for a morning walk on Friday.
Romilly was walking along the Stanley Park waterfront on Friday morning (pictured) when the police attacked
Vancouver police have not released a public statement about the incident, but Romilly said two senior members of the police force apologized.
He says he will not file a formal complaint.
“ I hate to say this is a case where I was targeted for walking while I was black, but you wonder why those handcuffs were put on me at such an early stage, ” he told CBC .
He hopes the police will become “more vigilant” in training officers to deal with minorities, he says.
Romilly made history as the first black judge appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 1995
Romilly is one of Canada’s leading lawyers.
He was born in Trinidad before moving to the country to study in the 1960s.
When he entered law school at the University of British Columbia in 1963, he was only the fourth black student to be accepted.
The father of two – who met his wife in law school – then embarked on a long legal career.
He joined the Provincial Court of British Columbia in 1974, before being appointed to the Supreme Court in 1995.
While serving in court, Romilly was known for his ‘kindness and sincerity’ and became a mentor to law students, ‘encouraging their young legal career’.
Vancouver officials honored Justice Romily with an event at City Hall after his retirement in 2015.
Vancouver police have not released a public statement about the incident, but Romilly said two senior members of the police force apologized