Late last week, while on his way to an afternoon medical appointment, 87 year-old Sam Ferstman was given two tickets totalling $494 because he failed to see the pedestrian crosswalk on Ste. Catherine near the Stanley Street intersection.
“I could see that the light had changed so I (along with two or three other seniors) tried to move a little faster but just as I got to the edge of the sidewalk, this policeman grabbed me by the arm and pulled me aside ,” said Ferstman. “He was very rough and very rude and after he called me an old man (for the first time), he told me that this was going to cost me a lot of money.”
Unfortunately, this was not the first time Ferstman had run into SPVM Constable P. Martin and he was frankly terrified. While Ferstman admits that the policeman never actually assaulted him or went out of his way to hurt him, he did leave the senior with a nasty bruise on his arm after he pulled him aside to give him a ticket. And even if he’s willing to ignore the rough treatment he received when he was stopped for jaywalking, Cst. Martin was just as rude and aggressive with him as he was last year when he first gave Ferstman a ticket ( #804 196 002) for jaywalking across Drummond Street in the city’s downtown core.
“He’s a big man, a scary man and I’m not the only one who’s afraid of him,” said Ferstman who admits that he is still nervous after the incident. When the constable asked him where he lived because he wanted to write him up a ticket for jaywalking, the distraught senior panicked after which he told the police that “…I’m not from around here.”
“I wasn’t trying to fool him,” said Ferstman. “I just wanted to get out of there because I was terrified of this man." At that point, and probably because he did not believe him, Cst. Martin turned the old man around and began to pat him down after which Ferstman reached for his wallet and gave the constable his health card.
“That was the second time he called me ‘Old Man’,” said Ferstman, “…and that’s when he told me that he was going to take me to jail. At that point, and even if the police may or may not have been teasing Ferstman, he began to write him up a second ticket for $452 for “…having hindered a peace officer in the performance of his duties.” When added to the original $42 dollars he owes the city for the original jaywalking ticket, Ferstman now owes the City of Montreal a total of $494 dollars because he failed to see the street’s pedestrian crossing zone.
During a long and extensive interview, Ferstman said that walking the streets in the city’s downtown core are one of the few things that he can still do that gives him a lot of pleasure following his long and successful career as one of Montreal’s better-known hairdressers. Just as collecting antique porcelain used to keep him busy, Ferstman now walks the streets in order to take in as much of the city’s sights and sounds he can before it all fades to black.
“I’ve got macular degeneration and glaucoma,” he said. “It’s getting harder and harder to see anything these days. While his fading vision will soon force Ferstman to liquidate his collection, he also says that he’s now going to think twice before he goes back downtown for a walk like he used to do before last week’s incident.
“I don’t know what will happen if I run into that awful policeman,” said the old pensioner. “I don’t know what he‘ll do to me. As of this week, Ferstman says that he has already sent a notice that he is not guilty of either offence and that he is planning to bring his case to the province’s Police Ethics bureau for some kind of decision about the incident.
“I’m not doing this because I’m angry,” said the mild-mannered senior citizen. “I’m doing this so that nobody else has to put up with the same kind of treatment as I got from this man.”