Hamilton’s first Black councilor carded

Matthew Green views the spot where he was carded. By Gerald V. Paul
Matthew Green views the spot where he was carded.
By Gerald V. Paul

“For those who you who think police carding is over, I was just arbitrarily stopped and questioned by @ Hamilton Police as a city councillor in my own city,” Matthew Green tweeted.

Green said that last Friday as he was waiting for a bus he was approached by two police officers in a car and one continued to “repeatedly question (him) and acted in an intimidating manner.”

Green stressed that he was not a suspect in a crime nor involved in criminal activity.

Green, a vocal critic of police carding, told The Camera he has been stopped and questioned before but never as a councilor.

“I’ve lodged a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD).” He said he will await that process to proceed from there. OIPRD is responsible for all public complaints about Ontario police conduct, policies and services.

Green said he is not anti-police, just anti-oppression.

He said he was stopped at 3 p.m. in broad daylight on a busy street.

“What was happening in that space? Was the officer exerting his power and control for no reason?”

He added that if he were a younger man or wasn’t educated, “I’m not sure I would have been able to deal with it in the same way – and then who knows what happens.

“It was humiliating. Here you’re not a city councilor, you’re not anything, you’re just who you are and how you look,” he said, describing the thoughts that flooded his mind.

He said he remained calm throughout the interaction and even tried to give the officer a way out as traffic piled up six cars deep behind him.

Eventually the officer asked the councilor who he was. Green said when he told the officer his name he noticed a change in his tone and demeanour.

Scarborough Centre Councilor Michael Thompson, who is Black and knows Green, responded, “Because of the skin you’re in, there are people, particularly in law enforcement, who are of the view that you’ve gotta be up to no good and a criminal.”

Thompson called carding “offensive” and “repugnant.”