Bank of Montreal, located on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. (Google Maps)

Probe ordered into B.C. arrest of Indigenous man, granddaughter trying to open bank account

Maxwell Johnson and his 12-year-old granddaughter were trying to open an account at the Bank of Montreal

The Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner has ordered an investigation after cops arrested an Indigenous man and his granddaughter at a Vancouver bank.

In a Tuesday news release, the agency said the information it received about the December arrest from the Vancouver police lead it to open the probe.

Maxwell Johnson and his 12-year-old granddaughter had been at a Bank of Montreal branch on Dec. 20 to open an account for the girl, according to a news release issued Friday by the First Nations Leadership Council.

Bank staff called police to report a fraud in progress because of concerns over Johnson’s Indian Status card and identification, the council said.

Johnson and his granddaughter put in handcuffs and detained in a police car, then released an hour later.

The commissioner’s office did not go into detail as to why it was investigating the officers’ actions, but said it was looking into whether their actions “constitute misconduct.”

The Delta Police Department will handle the investigation. The officers in question were cleared by an internal Vancouver police probe.

The incident raised concerns about racial profiling.

At the time, the president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs said he stood in solidarity with Johnson.

“Indigenous peoples continue to face the debilitating and destructive effects of a colonial legacy of discrimination and violence,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip.

A Vancouver police spokesperson said the force “recognizes that this entire situation has been upsetting and distressing for the two individuals.”

READ MORE: First Nations leaders slam handcuffing of elder, 12-year-old granddaughter at bank


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

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