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Montreal woman speaks out after alleged bruises from police

“I started panicking,” says Melody Ryder, recounting the moment she alleges a Montreal police officer grabbed her arm after he said she jaywalked - leaving her bruised. Pamela Pagano reports.

By Pamela Pagano

A Montreal woman says her normal commute to work quickly turned to distress after an encounter with police.

Melody Ryder says she got off the bus near Parc Avenue and Fairmount west in Montreal on Wednesday and quickly crossed the street, when a Montreal police officer stopped her.

Ryder claims before the officer said why she was being stopped — for jay-walking — he grabbed her arm multiple times. Right after the alleged incident, she took out her phone and started recording the next few minutes of the interaction.

She says she was mistreated and is left with bruises.

“I just it was just to make sure that people see that this sort of stuff is still happening. I’m English, I’m Black. I’m a woman. I was treated like an animal and I really didn’t deserve it.”

Ryder sent photos to CityNews of the bruises are the result of the alleged arm grab.

Melody Ryder

Photo of Melody Ryder’s bruised arm. (Photo Credit: Melody Ryder)

Ryder admits she saw the light turn yellow and the officer and still decided to cross. She says she just didn’t expect to be mistreated.

“I saw him, but I ran across the street. So as I crossed the street, the light turned red and then I approached him and he looked at me and I kind of just like, went in back of him. And that’s when he grabbed my arm the first time.

“He called for backup and then I started panicking. Because when a policeman calls for backup on a person of colour, you just sort of panic,” she explained.

Joel DeBellefeuille, a civil rights advocate, says he would like to know more details about what happened.

“Did he not like the way she looked? Would this have happened to somebody that was white? Would this have happened to a man?” wondered DeBellefeuille, the founder of Red Coalition Inc.

DeBellefeuille says they’re filing a report with the police ethics committee, saying no one should have to go through this.

“People need to talk about it and be heard. You know you got one life to live. We’re all here together. We should be living more harmoniously and not going against the grain, and that’s what’s important.”

Montreal police tell CityNews in a statement, “It is not the practice of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) to comment on a particular police intervention in order to prevent any influence on a possible judicial, ethical or administrative process.

“If a person felt unfairly treated during a police intervention, it is his or her right to file a complaint against the police officer(s) with the SPVM or with an independent organization. There are several mechanisms for doing so. Complaints must be filed with the official authorities in order for the procedure to follow its course. The complaint and challenge process will not, however, be conducted in the media.”

For her part, Ryder says, “I didn’t rob a bank. So I felt like I could have been treated and handled very, very, very different than this.”

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