'I'm In Fear Of My Life Because I'm Black': U.S. Citizen Seeks Refugee Status In Canada

| by Sean Kelly
Kyle Canty at a hearing in CanadaKyle Canty at a hearing in Canada

A U.S. man is reportedly seeking refugee status in Canada over fears that he’ll be killed because he’s black.

Kyle Lydell Canty, 30, arrived in Canada in September and initially told border agents that he was on vacation and taking pictures, CBC News reports. Once he was in Vancouver, however, Canty decided to apply to remain in the country as a refugee.

“I'm in fear of my life because I'm black,” he said at an Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) hearing on Oct. 23, according to CBC. “This is a well-founded fear."

Canty reportedly told the IRB that black people are “being exterminated at an alarming rate” in the States — and used the choking death of Eric Garner and the shooting death of Michael Brown, both by police, as examples. 

Garner and Brown's deaths sparked nationwide protests and initiated discussions about police and race relations in the U.S. According to a CBS Poll that was conducted after both incidents, 84 percent of African-American people believe police are most likely to use deadly force against a black person. Only 10 percent of African-American respondents said that race didn't matter when it came to police using deadly force, according to the December 2014 poll.

(Kyle Canty, Photo Credit: CBC News)

Canty provided significant evidence to the IRB, including video and media reports. Some of the video evidence he provided included footage of an incident where he was arrested for trespassing in Salem, Oregon, after spending two hours at a bus station using Wi-Fi and talking on the phone.

“I got bothered because I'm black,” he said. “This is a history of false arrest. My name is ruined because of the false arrest."

Canty, a New York native, said he wants to remain in Canada because he feels safe and comfortable enough to talk to police officers. He hopes to own a photography business and open a martial arts training center.

Sources: CBC, CBS News / Photo credit: CBC