Two STM (Société de transport de Montréal) agents were filmed beating a man with batons for allegedly playing with a basketball in a subway in Montreal, Canada on March 7 (raw video below).
Nzo Hodges, a bystander who filmed the incident and posted it on Facebook, told CTV News that the man was thrown against a concrete wall and onto the ground:
He wasn’t being aggressive – they were being aggressive with him.
The STM refused to give an interview, but STM spokesperson Philippe Dery said “at first glance, and according to the information we have at this time, everything was done in compliance [with STM regulations].”
Dery claimed the cops were called because the man was bothering people on the subway, which was contradicted by passenger Samantha Gold.
Gold and Hodges heard that the man was dribbling a basketball either inside the metro or on the platform.
Gold was reading when she noticed the cops approach the man “with purpose”:
I saw them address a man who was holding a ball of some kind. [They were] speaking to him, questioning him somewhat aggressively. I felt something in the pit of my stomach, knowing something was going to happen.
I strongly debated whether to interfere. I see this guy trying to wriggle out of their grasp – he’s being hit by the security guards, he’s being tackled, and he’s yelling “stop it, stop hitting me, ca fait mal.”
I was horrified – I felt like he was unfairly targeted, and I feel like the STM security guards were too quick to violence. My heart was racing, and I was scared – scared for the man.
The STM said it is not forbidden to have a basketball on the bus or metro, but that the man violated rules by “engaging in conduct that interferes with the free movement of any person or persons.”
The STM also claimed “the person did not have a ticket in his possession and refused to cooperate with our inspection.”
The man fled the subway and left his possessions on the platform – including the basketball – which were confiscated (possibly stolen) by the STM.
Montreal Police said no charges have been filed.