The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)

Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Vancouver police have apologized for arresting the wrong man Friday morning in what’s being called an “appalling” and “unacceptable” act of racial bias.

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. while out for a walk along the seawall.

At 81 years old, the retired judge was detained.

Sgt. Steve Addison told Black Press Media the man fit the description of a man who was assaulting strangers near the seawall at English Bay.

“It was reported that the suspect would appear to be walking normally, but would then suddenly start kicking, punching, and spitting at people.”

Given the violent nature of the incident, Romilly was handcuffed publicly.

READ MORE: Police apologize after white woman calls 911 to report Black man in Ottawa park

“When it became obvious that he was not the suspect and had done nothing wrong,” Addison said the handcuffs were quickly removed.

Officers eventually located the correct suspect along the seawall and took that man to jail, Addison confirmed.

Romilly was contacted a short time later and offered an apology from one of the police officers that arrested him. He was also advised of the process of filing a complaint.

READ ALSO: 2 Vancouver police officers charged with assault in arrest of a Black man

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said, “I am appalled by the wrongful handcuffing and detainment of retired Justice Selwyn Romilly and have reached out to apologize.”

“Systemic racism is a reality of our colonial institutions. Incidents like this are unacceptable and cannot continue to happen.”

Stewart said he has prompted an internal review of the incident by the Vancouver Board of Police.



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

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