An Abbotsford-based Sikh man in his late 30s is suing Surrey RCMP ripping off his turban while he was being held in a cell at a local detachment.
According to a claim filed in the BC Supreme Court, Kanwaljit Singh claims he has suffered beyond injury from the incident.
The Abbotsford software programmer's statement of claim says "suddenly without provocation or justification" an officer he understood to be Sgt. Brian Blair "approached the plaintiff and ripped the turban off of his head," then threw the turban onto the booking desk.
Singh was the only prisoner during the afternoon on June 30, 2017, to be in the booking area of the jail. At the time, he was in the presence of four to five cops.
Right after, Blair and three or four officers allegedly grabbed Singh and marched him out of the booking area to the holding cell, where Singh's arms were twisted behind his back.
The lawsuit says, “Sgt. Blair intended his forceful removal of the plaintiff's turban and his pulling of the plaintiff's hair to be insulting to the plaintiff's religious beliefs," it says.
Singh also says he is a devout Sikh who wears a turban as part of his religious practice and a core part of his identity. He claims to have suffered injury to his dignity, loss of self-respect, embarrassment, stress and anxiety. He's seeking damages and a declaration that his charter rights were breached.
Kanwaljit Singh immigrated to Canada in 2006, according to the claim.