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Police Abuse of Power Lawsuit to the Supreme Court

$135 of $76,000 goal

Raised by 7 people in 1 month
In 2009, a university student named Bela Kosoian was detained en route to an evening class; she was manhandled, handcuffed, and fined $420 by two police officers for not holding a subway escalator handrail.
 
She was subsequently acquitted of the tickets three years later in municipal court on the grounds there is no by-law that gives the police the legal authority to compel people to hold the handrail under threat of a fine.

The Montreal transit commission (STM) had gone on record shortly after the incident to say they don't give fines for not holding handrails -- but that didn't stop them from pushing this through municipal court. Every step of the way the police and the STM could have stopped this juggernaut, but instead they were confident they had the financial means, the resources and the aura of authority to not only to demolish her defense within the court system, but also in the court of public opinion.
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While she was victorious in her defense against the fines, she lost a tandem lawsuit of her own against the arresting officer, the STM and the City of Laval for abuse of power. The Civil Court and Court of Appeal of Québec both ruled that the arresting officer had not abused his powers because the standards of what constitutes reasonable conduct for peace officers is different than those for the rest of society.

In short, police officers can't and shouldn't be held to the same standards as everybody else -- and that includes ignorance of the law.

In essence, Bela Kosoian was singled out for differential treatment and selective punishment by agents of the state – outside the scope of any law – for the non-crime of exercising a right to hold or not to hold an escalator handrail under rule of law.
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The court challenge to the Supreme Court of Canada is going to determine if it is within a police officer's powers to compel people to comply with an unlawful order under penalty of a fine and/or arrest.

If Bela Kosoian loses her case against the police for abuse of power, it will be used as case law and form the basis of a legal precedent giving the police added powers of immunity – something which could be used to curtail civil rights in Canada. It would give new legitimacy to what we otherwise know to be fundamental civil rights abuses during the G20 summit in Toronto and the so-called 'Maple Spring' student protest in Québec.

Reasonable persons of good character will grasp the intent of this campaign and understand the importance of raising public awareness and financial support for the court challenge.

Funds raised will be use to cover legal expenses and court costs.

If the funds raised exceed the costs, the difference will be donated to non-profit
organizations with a mandate to promote access to justice.

Going to the Supreme Court is a very expensive proposition.  Please help any way you can. Spread the word, lend your voice, and consider making a donation towards her legal costs.
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$135 of $76,000 goal

Raised by 7 people in 1 month
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IB
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