Vancouver police had to apologize after mistakenly arresting a retired black British Columbia Supreme Court judge on Friday who fit the description of a wanted suspect.
Judge Selwyn Romilly was walking along the Vancouver seawall on Friday morning when five police officers approached and arrested him, the Vancouver Sun reported on Saturday.
“They said they got a report, someone made a report and I matched a person’s description. [qui avait été] denounced. Without too much delay, they told me to turn around and put my hands behind my back and put the handcuffs on me, ”said the judge in an interview with the daily.
“The place is full of people and they see a black man in handcuffs… They didn’t ask my name or ask any questions. They put the handcuffs on me in an indecent haste, ”he added.
The man would not have been handcuffed for long, once he was able to explain to police that he was a retired Supreme Court judge.
“I posed no threat to them, I had no gun on me,” he said.
Vancouver police said they received several calls Friday morning about a man assaulting people who had been described as a dark-skinned man, aged 40 to 50, according to the “Vancouver Sun”.
“Mr. Romilly, who matched the description given to officers by witnesses and was in the same area as the suspect, was briefly taken into custody before it became clear to officers that he was the wrong one suspect, ”said agent Tania Visintin in an email to the daily, adding that the police had apologized to the judge.
Selwyn Romilly became the first black person to be appointed to a British Columbia court in 1974, before being the first black judge to sit on the province’s Supreme Court in 1995.