An acquaintance of mine recently got a jaywalking ticket in the Plateau. He was rushing to work and he crossed against a light. There were cops there to greet him on the other side. One emerged from behind a bus stop and the other from behind a tree. It was a sting!

One of the cops explained that a woman had been hit on that very intersection recently. He went on to say that this is common practice for Montreal after there is a fatal accident on a street. It’s the police’s way of trying to get across the message of pedestrian safety to the public.

My acquaintance took his ticket and politely parted ways with the officers.

This doesn’t seem like a newsworthy story right? Well then you have to wonder why the story of Lateef Martin, a Montreal man who recently received a 48 dollar jaywalking ticket, is currently making the rounds at every major Montreal media outlet?

Well, Martin decided to try to turn his jaywalking ticket into an issue of race. In an article entitled “Walking while black? Montreal man ticketed for walking on street instead of ice-covered sidewalk,” Martin told CJAD that when he was approached by an officer while he was walking in the middle of the street in order to avoid the icy sidewalk. The officer asked him if he was okay and where he was going.

At this point Martin became uncooperative and said, “You don’t need to know where I’m going, I haven’t done anything wrong.” The cop pointed out that what he was doing was an infraction and that the sidewalks were fine. Martin disagreed and argued with the officer.

Now imagine that you are a cop and you are simply trying to do your job. How would you feel, if when you responded to an unusual looking infraction, you were met with an argument and an overall lack of cooperation?

I’m not an expert in human psychology, but I think it’s fair to say that the officer didn’t take too kindly to being treated that way. It seems to me that Mr. Martin may have suffered the fate of a 48 dollar fine not because of his race, but because of his attitude.