According to Veckqueth Stevenson, he was simply listening to music in a Montreal park with friends when police approached him.
“I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Turn down the music,’ and I turned down the music,” Stevenson told CTV Montreal.
When Stevenson -- who says he is legally blind -- heard an argument between a police officer and another man, he stood up to find his stereo and leave Nelson Mandela Park.
Veckqueth Stevenson, who says he is legally blind, claims the Montreal police brutally manhandled him in a park last May.
“Somebody said, ‘Where's your ID?’ and I said, ‘I don't have any ID with me,’” Stevenson said.
According to Stevenson, a police officer then pushed him to the ground, bruising his head, spraining his fingers and cutting his lip. Stevenson was subsequently arrested and brought to a police station where he was fined $149 for playing music in a park and charged with assaulting a police officer.
The Montreal police tell a different story from that night last May, saying that Stevenson was unco-operative and head-butted an officer -- claims that Stevenson denies.
“I decided to come forward with my story because the way I was treated,” Stevenson said. “It wasn’t right.”
Fo Niemi, executive director of the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations, says there should be an independent inquiry into the incident.
“There's no more symbolic place than Nelson Mandela Park,” Niemi told CTV Montreal.
“A black man in his 50s who is visually blind is treated like this with excessive force to that extent I think it raises a lot of issues.”