On November 21st, 2018, Kagame Jean and his two friends were subject to an act of anti-black racism and 'driving while black' by the Ontario Provincial Police.
Kagame Jean is a McGill University social work student, a former President of the McGill African Students Society, and a floor fellow. Originally from Rwanda, he is a leader within McGill's student community, and a passionate advocate of social justice and change.
While driving to Toronto, Kagame was pulled over to the side of the highway. After the police officer took his identification, he was made to wait for over 30 minutes without indication of what he had done wrong. During this time, several other police cars and a tow truck arrived on the scene. The tower began the process of linking the car up to be moved.
Upon the officer's return to the car, Kagame was charged with driving 170 km/h and stunt driving, which he completely refutes. Kagame was given a court date of December 13th, was told that his license was suspended for a week, and that the rental car was to be impounded. It was indicated that the penalty for these offences ranged from $3000-$10,000, as well as a possible six-month prison sentence.
When Kagame indicated that he had a final term paper due on his proposed court date, the OPP officer yelled, "I don’t f—king care, get out of the f—king car and get into the f—king (tow) truck".
Terrified, Kagame and his friends stepped out of the car. An officer indicated that they were to be transported to the nearest town to rent another car. When the men hesitated, and voiced their concerns about getting into the vehicle, the officer then said "You have two f—king options, either get in the f—king truck or stay here in the f—king cold" before walking away.
Another officer then apologized for their partner's words, and clarified that this was not appropriate conduct. He then drove them to a car rental facility, where they were refused service. With no other options, they were brought to Brockville's train station to make their way back to Montreal. Kagame and his friends would like to express their thanks for this officer's professional service.
Kagame has since aligned himself with the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), who have called this incident “one of the most contemptible and abusive cases of driving while black that can put Canada’s record on anti-black racism under scrutiny”. He has also received the full support of the McGill's Social Work Students Association and the Black Students Network in seeking justice for this gross abuse of power.
How will these funds be used?
- Rental car and impoundment fees - Legal and court fees - Transportation, meals and accommodation to Brockville, ON for Kagame's court case on December 13th, 2018 - Any remaining funds will be provided to Kagame and friends in solidarity of their attempts to fight this unjust abuse of authority
When are we collecting funds until?
This gofundme will be live until 12 noon, December 13th, 2018.
What your support means
Donating to this cause is an action against anti-black racism within Canada, and a means to develop community support behind Kagame Jean.
It is a clear message to the Ontario Provincial Police that this abusive behaviour from their officers is unacceptable, and must be condemned by all levels of government.
This gofundme was co-created by executive members of the McGill Social Work Student Association and the Black Students' Network. We have reached out to Kagame Jean for his consent in fundraising, and will maintain consistent communication with him throughout his legal proceedings. Any questions about this campaign may be forwarded to email@example.com.