Selwyn Romilly was the first black person appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
Romilly told Global News he was walking the sea wall when he was approached by five police officers looking for a suspect who allegedly screamed and yelled at people and tried to kick them.
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Officers told Romilly he matched the suspect’s description and placed him in handcuffs for “officers’ safety,” he said.
The suspect was described as a dark-skinned male between the ages of 40 and 50; Romilly is 80 years old.
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“It was a very embarrassing incident, I hope it doesn’t happen again,” he told Global News.
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“They should know before they put anyone in handcuffs… they should at least know who they are.”
Romilly said the ministry has asked for an apology and has no plans to file a complaint, but that “they have to learn. “
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Vancouver Police confirmed they were called to the English Bay area at around 9:15 am following reports of a man assaulting strangers, when they met Romilly, “who sounded like the suspect”.
“Given the violent nature of the incident, the man was handcuffed. He was submissive and identified himself as a retired judge, ”Sgt. Said Steve Addison.
“The handcuffs were quickly removed and the man was allowed to continue when it became clear that he was not the suspect and had done nothing wrong.”
Romilly was born in Trinidad and Tobago and came to Vancouver to study at the University of British Columbia, where he graduated from the Peter A. Allard School of Law in 1966.
He was appointed a judge in 1974 and, in 1995, was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, becoming the first black person to do so, according to the BC Black History Awareness Society.
The retired judge has had a long and distinguished career, but he is perhaps best known for presiding over the trial for the murder of Reena Virk.
– With files from Jordan Armstrong