back to top

A Quebec Police Officer Pepper Sprayed This Man While His Kids Were In The Backseat

"You just pepper-sprayed my children!"

Posted on

A Montreal-area father says he was pulled over and pepper-sprayed in the face by a police officer while his two daughters were in the backseat of his truck.

Montreal Gazette / Via youtube.com

John Chilcott told the Montreal Gazette he frequently gets stopped by police in the Montreal suburb of Châteauguay. This last time, he was already running late in getting his kids to school and demanded to know why he was being pulled over right outside his house.

The police officer asked for Chilcott's license and registration, but Chilcott said he refused to identify himself until he was told why he was being stopped.

After the officer asked him to step out of the vehicle, Chilcott said he asked again why he'd been stopped. That is when, according to Chilcott, the police officer sprayed him in the face.

Chilcott's wife Rosemarie Edwards saw the commotion and came out to record the encounter. Her two daughters, ages 10 and 6, were coughing from the pepper spray as two more officers arrived on the scene.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com / Via montrealgazette.com

Edwards told the Gazette she identified the police officer as Constable Mathew Vill.

"You just pepper-sprayed my children!" Edwards repeatedly tells Vill and his colleagues in the video.

The officer at one point claims Chilcott was trying to run away, which Edwards tells him is false because she saw the whole thing from inside the house.

"Why are you guys so goddamn racist?" she asks.

Châteauguay police did not respond to specific questions about the incident, but shared a press release with BuzzFeed Canada that claims the police officer stopped Chilcott after "several" unspecified traffic violations.

Montreal Gazette / Via youtube.com

After meeting resistance from a driver who "refused to co-operate," the officer had to use his pepper spray, the release says in French.

Police say an internal investigation is underway.

Chilcott said he's gotten stopped several times by police, whom he accuses of racially profiling him. He plans to file a complaint with the police ethics commissioner with the help of the Montreal-based Center for Research-Action on Race Relations.

Fo Niemi, the executive director of CRARR, told BuzzFeed Canada that most complaints to the ethics commissioner get dismissed with little explanation, and that racial profiling is widespread.

"There is a pattern of young black men being stopped for minor traffic and pedestrian violations and escalating very quickly into the use of force or arrest," Niemi said.

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.