The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)

Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Vancouver police have apologized for arresting the wrong man Friday morning in what’s being called an “appalling” and “unacceptable” act of racial bias.

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. while out for a walk along the seawall.

At 81 years old, the retired judge was detained.

Sgt. Steve Addison told Black Press Media the man fit the description of a man who was assaulting strangers near the seawall at English Bay.

“It was reported that the suspect would appear to be walking normally, but would then suddenly start kicking, punching, and spitting at people.”

Given the violent nature of the incident, Romilly was handcuffed publicly.

READ MORE: Police apologize after white woman calls 911 to report Black man in Ottawa park

“When it became obvious that he was not the suspect and had done nothing wrong,” Addison said the handcuffs were quickly removed.

Officers eventually located the correct suspect along the seawall and took that man to jail, Addison confirmed.

Romilly was contacted a short time later and offered an apology from one of the police officers that arrested him. He was also advised of the process of filing a complaint.

READ ALSO: 2 Vancouver police officers charged with assault in arrest of a Black man

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart said, “I am appalled by the wrongful handcuffing and detainment of retired Justice Selwyn Romilly and have reached out to apologize.”

“Systemic racism is a reality of our colonial institutions. Incidents like this are unacceptable and cannot continue to happen.”

Stewart said he has prompted an internal review of the incident by the Vancouver Board of Police.



sarah.grochowski@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Policeracial profilingVancouver police

Just Posted

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

South Slocan’s Ti Loran is among the recipients of this year’s Neil Muth Memorial Scholarship. Photo: Submitted
Neil Muth Memorial Scholarships awarded to 4 students

Students in Creston, South Slocan and Revelstoke are sharing the honour

Dawn Low worked for the City of Revelstoke for 22 years. She became CAO for our community in 2019 and held the position until May, 2021.
Revelstoke’s Dawn Low hired as CAO for Armstrong

Dawn Low was the CAO in Revelstoke until end of May

The Five-Cairn Trail is roughly 25 km long and traverses between two icefields. A friend and I hiked it in 2009. (Liam Harrap)
Liam’s Lowdown: That time I got rescued in Iceland

Sometimes we need to call for help and thank goodness it comes

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Most Read