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 for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

A fawn found in Invermere. (BC Conservation Officer Service photo)
WildSafeBC advises on fawning season

It’s best to leave fawns alone, according to WildSafeBC

On Tuesday June 8th, B.C. Fire in Invermere responded to a fire at the 9500 area of Hwy 95 south of Parson. (Photo submitted)
Parson fire reminder of wildfire season ahead

While the fire was quickly extinguished, it’s a reminder that open fires are currently prohibited

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League met for their AGM and announced a number of new initiatives, new awards and changes in their executive committee, as well as the starting date for the 2021-22 season. Paul Rodgers file.
KIJHL announces start dates for 2021-22 season

Season set to begin Oct. 1 with league still following all health guidelines

Some of the priorities that the GDCF is hoping to touch on in their surveys that will inform community priorities. (GDCF photo)
Golden Community Foundation encouraging residents to participate in survey

It’s a new project to inform community priorities in the coming year

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Facebook)
New trial date set for Penticton beach attacker’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

Orange ribbons are tied to the fence outside Vernon’s Gateway Homeless Shelter on 33rd Street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
POLL: Low-key Canada Day in the works for Vernon

Councillor calling for Indigenous recognition for 2022

A conceptual design of Vernon’s new Active Living Centre, which will go to referendum Oct. 15, 2022. (Rendering)
Active living centre 2022 referendum planned in Vernon

City hoping to get Coldstream and Areas B and C back on board

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue will allow restaurants and other businesses to extend their patios onto the street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Green light given to downtown Vernon road closure

Single block of 30th Avenue to close over summer months to boost business

Graduating Grade 12 student Savannah Lamb has been awarded an approximate $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation. (Contributed)
Dedicated Salmon Arm student earns scholarship to pursue post-secondary education

Savannah Lamb is graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary with a $40,000 scholarship

A provided photo of the suspect. (Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP investigating after business robbed

An undisclosed amount of money and merchandise were taken from the business

Travel Penticton went to city council for support in increasing the tax on short-term stays to fund a convention bureau and affordable housing. (File photo)
Travel Penticton seeks to grow through increased hotel tax

The increased funds would go to creating a convention bureau and to affordable housing

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

Most Read