Vancouver Police and Mayor Apologize for Wrongfully Detaining and Handcuffing Retired Black Supreme Court Justice

Selwyn Romilly, shown here in 2019, was the first Black judge appointed to the B.C. Supreme Court. (Peter A. Allard School of Law/YouTube)

The mayor of Vancouver says he is “appalled” that police officers wrongfully detained and handcuffed a retired British Columbia Supreme Court justice out for a walk on Friday morning.

Kennedy Stewart said in a statement he reached out to apologize to Justice Selwyn Romilly, 81, the first Black person appointed to the court.

Romilly said he was walking around Stanley Park during his morning walk on Friday when two police vehicles pulled up nearby and about five officers approached him. He said all five appeared to be white and were significantly taller than his five feet, eight inches.

“They said that they got a complaint about someone fitting my description, and before I could say anything, they told me to put my hands behind my back and they shackled me with handcuffs,” he told CBC News.

“I have no gun, I don’t have anything in my hand or my person. And here you have — at 9:45 a.m., near to Third Beach where you have lots of people — you have a Black guy … shackled in handcuffs and people passing by. I found that most embarrassing.”

He said he told the officers he was a retired judge, and they released him from the handcuffs after about a minute.

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SOURCE: CBC, The Canadian Press

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