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

A video by Fort Langley resident Richard Donison captured the moment on May 24 when an errant log boom knocked down a bird habitat the end of Brae Island at Tavistock point. (Richard Donison/special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: The moment when a log boom destroyed a Langley bird habitat

Fort Langley resident says it happened ‘very, very slowly’

Students at ACSS and BGMS will start the school year in September with positive changes at their Aldergrove Campus. (Special to The Star)
Fit Core athletic centre to link Betty Gilbert and Aldergrove Secondary

Langley School District announced new courses such as guitar and digital technology for students

Douglas Denyer walks with his wife Dorothy, who passes away at 90. The long-time resident of Langley and Rotarian since 1984 turned 100 on June 16. He has two sons, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Celebrating ‘a beautiful life,’ Langley senior turns 100

‘I’ve always tried to help out everyone I can” Douglas Denyer says

Vancouver Giants will return to the ice on Oct. 8, hosting the Prince George Cougars at Langley Events Centre. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Giants will renew division rivalry with Cougars when season resumes in October

First game at Langley Events Centre since February of last year

A flower-bedecked memorial to one three people who died at the scene of a suspicious house fire in Langley stands outside the burnt-out house in the 19600 block of Wakefield Drive on Monday, June 29, 2020. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
First hearing for man charged in Langley triple homicide

Kia Ebrahimian faces three counts of second degree murder

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.-Alberta’s Indigenous languages, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read