Cambridge woman files racial profiling lawsuit against police
Chase Banger, CTV Kitchener
Published Wednesday, May 22, 2019 7:40PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 23, 2019 12:05PM EDT
A Cambridge woman has filed a lawsuit against the Waterloo Regional Police Service after an alleged incident of racial profiling on July 29, 2017.
Natasha Broomes alleges that Const. Jesse Foster racially profiled her while investigating an incident unrelated to her.
The lawsuit was filed on April 18 and announced in a media release on May 22.
According to the statement of claim, a person placed a call to the WRPS reporting a man had threatened her husband and may have had a gun. Foster heard the suspect description for a black male suspect with short hair who was driving a red Ford Explorer with tinted windows.
The statement of claim says that Broomes, a woman with long hair, was driving a burgundy Pontiac Torrent without tinted windows.
The statement of claim notes Foster followed her to her home.
“She did not notice that she was being followed by Constable Foster until he pointed his flashlight at her,” the statement of claim reads. “At that time, if not earlier, it was clear to Constable Foster that Broomes did not match the description of the suspect.”
It goes on to say that, “Foster falsely concluded Broomes knew the suspect” and forcefully detained her.
Some of these events were reportedly captured on cell phone.
In the video, released by Broomes’ lawyer, a police officer appears to be arresting a black woman. In it, the woman can be heard telling the police officer that she had just had surgery and that he was hurting her.
The officer can be heard saying, “You’re under arrest for failing to identify yourself.” The video has not been independently verified by CTV.
The claim alleges that the investigation and arrest were discriminatory and motivated by race, and that the Plaintiff would not have faced the same treatment had she been Caucasian.
“An investigation by the Office of the Independent Police Review Board (OIPRD) found that Foster exercised his authority by arresting Ms. Broomes unlawfully or unnecessarily, used forced against Ms. Broomes unnecessarily, and failed to treat Ms. Broomes equally,” the media release goes on to say.
The OIPRD report, dated Dec. 14, 2018, suggests there is evidence of three allegations that Foster did engage in police misconduct under the Police Services Act.
The OIRPD did not find evidence of two other allegations: that she was not read her right to counsel and that Foster told her he wouldn’t release her unless she admitted the incident was her fault.
According to the OIPRD report, Foster said he originally detained Broomes on the grounds that he had a “strong suspicion” that she may have been somehow involved in the call and in connection to Highway Traffic Act offences.
On Thursday morning, regional police released a statement acknowledging the matter. It reads:
"The Waterloo Regional Police Service takes all complaints and allegations against its members very seriously. The Office of the Independent Review Director (OIPRD) has ordered a directed hearing on this matter; no date has yet been set. In respect for the pending judicial process, no comment can be issued at this time.
A statement of claim has been received which is currently under review."
No defence has yet been filed and none of the allegations have been proven in court.