- Montreal metro STM officers have been caught on camera forcefully arresting a man who allegedly did not pay his fare, which is $3.50.
- A video sent to MTL Blog shows part of the arrest, including moments where the would-be passenger screams out in pain after being pinned to the ground.
On Friday, December 13 at around 11 p.m. at Snowdon station, STM officers attempted to detain a man who allegedly didn't pay his Montreal metro fare. An eyewitness reported to MTL Blog that the man yelled out in pain and that the officers threw him to the ground. "They pinned him down to the floor and started being aggressive even though the man was listening to instructions," says the eyewitness.
This article contains graphic content that might not be suitable for some readers, including a video that depicts a forceful arrest by authorities.
STM spokesperson Philippe Déry told MTL Blog that, "in such situations, the force used is proportional to the degree of resistance, in accordance with the force use model taught during the training of our inspectors and applied in most police forces across the country."
According to the witness report, the man did not have $3.50 for the metro fare. Video from the incident shows the STM officers pinning him to the wall, but does not show them throw him to the floor.
Due to the echo in the metro station, it's hard to make out what the detained man is saying. At the end of the video, an officer orders the eyewitness to shut off their camera and leave the area.
"An administrative investigation will also be conducted, as is always the case during events of this nature," said Déry.
The video (in two parts, seen below) shows a group of STM officers surrounding the man while they pin him to the ground. The man is crying out in pain as officers lift him up and walk him to a nearby wall.
The witness reported that after officers arrived, "they pinned him down on the floor. The man was screaming that he couldn't breathe and his arm was hurting him."
The STM says that, "our inspectors indeed had to intervene with an individual who had not paid his right of way, refused to comply with the inspectors' instructions, and was aggressive and actively resisting."
According to STM rules, an inspector has the right to ask for identification if they believe that a client has committed an offence. If a client refuses to comply, they could be arrested for "obstructing a public official."
The bystander who sent us the video says that "this man was not aggressive in any way," despite the STM's use of force.
The issue of the STM's enforcement of fares is an ongoing discussion that, in recent months, has received widespread public and media attention.
In March, advocacy groups asked the City of Montreal to launch an inquiry into an incident of excessive force in Villa Maria metro.
A month later, the STM board passed a resolution calling for its officers to have more "police-like" powers, thus requiring more training and oversight.
In 2018, the STM issued 3,817 fines in accordance with by-law R-105 to customers who didn't pay their fare.
No further details about the incident on Friday night are known at the time.