On May 14, 2021, retired BC Supreme Court Justice Selwyn Romilly was stopped and handcuffed by Vancouver Police while out for a morning walk along Vancouver’s seawall. The officers told Justice Romilly that he “matched” the description of the suspect, who was described as a 40 to 50 year-old dark-skinned man. Justice Romilly was in his 80’s. The incident was condemned as an example of racial targeting and stereotyping.
Perhaps not so ironically, 47 years earlier, on October 12, 1974, Justice Romilly’s brother, Valmond Romilly, at the time a lawyer, was stopped on Granville Street and detained by three Vancouver city policeman in another case of “mistaken identity” involving Black people.
The incidents raise questions of whether the police have genuinely addressed systemic racism in their ranks.