Maxwell Johnson thought his appointment at the Bank of Montreal would be routine.
He's been a customer since 2014 and wanted to open an account for his 12-year-old granddaughter so he could transfer funds to her electronically when she was on the road for basketball games.
But at the Dec. 20 meeting at BMO's Burrard Street location in downtown Vancouver, an employee questioned the identification he and his granddaughter presented.
"She said the numbers didn't match up what she had on her computer," Johnson said from his home in Bella Bella, a Heiltsuk community located on B.C's Central Coast.
Johnson, 56, and his granddaughter were using government-issued Indian Status cards, his birth certificate and her medical card. He said the employee became suspicious and went upstairs with their cards.
He believes the employee might have been suspicious because he had $30,000 in his account — an amount he and every other member of the Heiltsuk nation received in December from the federal government as part of an Aboriginal rights settlement package.
He says the employee then told them to come upstairs to retrieve their identification. Not long after, they saw police walking toward them.
"They came over and grabbed me and my granddaughter, took us to a police vehicle and handcuffed both of us, told us we were being detained and read us our rights," Johnson said.
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