By Oisin Sweeney • 24 November 2020 • 20:27
An indigenous man and his 12-year-old granddaughter were accused of fraud and arrested in Canada for trying to open a bank account.
Maxwell Johnson, an indigenous Canadian of the Heiltsuik minority group, was in a Vancouver branch of Bank of Montreal alongside his 12-year-old granddaughter trying to set up her bank account. The bank’s clerks didn’t accept Johnson’s government issued ‘Indian Status’ ID, and became suspicious when they saw a large deposit balance in his account.
When Tori-Anne’s number details didn’t match their database, their suspicions became high enough to call the police. Leaked audio of the call reveals that the employee told police that the pair were ‘South Asian’ fraudsters who had presented a fake ID. When officers arrived Johnson and Tori-Anne were both handcuffed. Officers quickly removed them from the child when they realised she was 12, having thought she was ‘16 or 17’.
Johnson has launched complaints to the human rights commissions of British Columbia and Canada, saying the incident had left him with anxiety and in need of counseling. The chief councilor of Heiltsuik Nation said that ‘this was a clear case of racial profiling and systemic racism’ and that Johnson and Tori-Anne ‘deserve justice for the pain of this incident’.
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Oisin is an Irish writer based in Seville, the sunny capital of Andalucia. After starting his working life as a bookseller, he moved into journalism and cut his teeth as a reporter at one of Ireland's biggest news websites. Since joining Euro Weekly News in November, he has enjoyed covering the latest stories from Seville, Spain and further afield - with special interests in crime, cybersecurity, and European politics. Anyone who can pronounce his name first try gets a free cerveza...
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