Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is just after 5:30 AM. I rose from a brief sleep, haunted by this story that I must write.
I am a 77 year old Montreal journalist and blogger. More than 126,000 people around the world have now read my reports at Phyllis Carter's Journal and The Dawn McSweeney Crime Case.
I am handicapped and I take taxis frequently. During my drives, I engage the driver in conversation, as is my wont, to elicit their experiences, to learn about their cultures, to give the person a chance to express himself and share his feelings.
I am not a fiction writer. The core of my being is that of a reporter, a person driven to seek justice for those who are oppressed and suffer in fear and silence.
In Montreal, Quebec, Canada, there is much to fear and the silence of the lambs prevents the general public from noticing what is happening right under their noses.
Yesterday, on my drive home from hospital, I engaged the taxi driver in conversation. When I told him who I was, he opened up to me. People usually do.
Now I will tell you his story. I invited him to put his experience in writing so that I could publish it in his own words - with or without his name - because he is afraid. Will he write to me? They usually do not. And that is why, to date, I have not reported the many stories told to me about the Montreal Police by taxi drivers. But this time, I must do it. I can't sleep if I don't tell.
For the purpose of this report, I will call the taxi driver Joseph. I will call the mysterious attacker Mr.Blank.
Here is Joseph's story, as he told it to me: I will write in the first person so the reader can sense his feelings through me.
"I was driving along at normal speed. I had no passenger. Suddenly a car struck me from behind. Then the car proceeded to come around my left side and we both stopped.
Mr. Blank got out of his vehicle and approached my car. I opened my widow slightly.
Mr. Blank flashed a badge before my eyes."
(Here I do not remember what Mr. Blank said to Joseph.)
"His manner was menacing. He splashed some liquid in my face. I don't know why.
Mr. Blank then returned to his vehicle and drove out in front of me. I called 911 and told the police what had just happened. The police told me they were on their way to meet me.
Mr. Blank drove on and I followed him for about seven minutes. No sign of the police. They finally arrived. Mr. Blank stopped and spoke to the police officer.
I told the policeman what had just happened. I asked him what the police would do about it.
I said I wanted to make a report. I told the police officer the man had shown me a badge. The policeman's tone was not understanding.
The officer told me, "Mr. Blank has no badge." He told me I had a right to make a report, but I would be sorry if I did. He warned me that I might get beaten up. He said I would be facing big trouble.
I was afraid, for myself, for my family. I did not make a report. I have no idea why I was attacked."
I told Joseph that if he would repeat his experience in a report to me, I would publish it on my blog. I doubt that he - like others - will follow through. He is afraid. But his experience with the Montreal Police must not be hidden.
Joseph is not the first man to tell me of a nightmare experience with the Montreal Police. This is Canada in the 21st century. This is a so-called democracy, a free country. Why are people living in fear and in silence?