CANADA: Police defend fining woman for not holding handrail

CTV >> Originally Published 16th May 2009

Laval police say they handcuffed a woman for not holding an escalator handrail because she refused to heed their warnings. The incident — and the resulting fine — has sparked criticism of the officers for being too aggressive.

The officers defended their actions on Saturday, saying they warned 38-year-old Bela Kosoian repeatedly to grab the handrail inside a Laval subway station, but instead she allegedly shouted at them.

Police say they were concerned because a month earlier, a man had fallen on the escalator and suffered severe injuries to his face.

“They just wanted to warn her, and with the reaction they got, the police officers told me she probably had a bad day because she jumped in their faces right away,” said Laval police spokesperson Nathalie Lorrain.

Kosoian, a mother of two, tells a different story.

She told CTV Montreal she was rushing to her class at the Université du Québec à Montreal this month, and was rummaging through her bag for fare money, when police told her to hold the handrail.

Kosoian claims she asked what infraction she had committed but police did not tell her. When she stepped off the escalator, police handcuffed her and took her to a holding room, where they issued a fine.

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