MONTRÉAL, July 27, 2022 /CNW Telbec/ - A black man represented by the CDPDJ has just won a case for racial profiling in a police intervention in Repentigny. According to the reported facts, two police officers did a U-turn after spotting the complainant driving his BMW. They followed him for a long distance before intercepting him and asking him if the vehicle belonged to him, asking for his papers and identification. Feeling that he was a victim of discriminatory profiling and having no explanations as to why he was intercepted, the complainant refused to identify himself, which led to his arrest, handcuffing, search and the issuing of a statement of offence.
The victim, Mr. Ducas, filed a complaint with the Commission, which brought the case before the Tribunal des droits de la personne. In its decision, the Tribunal concluded that the complainant had suffered a discriminatory attack on his right to preserve his dignity and that he had been the victim of racial profiling by the police officers of the City of Repentigny. The judge awarded moral damages of $8,000 to the complainant, who remains extremely upset by the events to this day.
"This is an important victory in the fight against racial profiling and the stigmatization of Black communities. Systematically intercepting black people while driving and for no reason is unfortunately a phenomenon that continues to be widespread and must be eradicated. We continue to work closely with all stakeholders to bring about a fundamental change in policing practices," said Myrlande Pierre, Vice President responsible for the Charter mandate.
Based on the expertise filed by the Commission, the judge in the case believes that the police intervention constitutes differential treatment resulting from unconscious prejudice and bias against a black man driving a luxury car. "The Tribunal is convinced that the policewomen would not have turned back if the person driving the car was white".
"It is a start, a step in the right direction to recognize racial profiling in Repentigny. My case is not unique and unfortunately there is still a lot of work to be done. Profiling, with its perverse effects, greatly undermines the confidence of racialized communities in the police," commented Mr. Ducas following the ruling.
The judgment underlines that thanks to "the vigilance and meticulous work done by the Commission over the past few years in this type of case", the Repentigny Police Service, as well as police services in major cities in Quebec, have become aware of the phenomenon of racial profiling and are now working to modify their practices.
"The Commission welcomes the Tribunal's recognition of its more than 20 years of expertise in racial profiling. While we welcome the fact that police services are taking action to change certain discriminatory practices, we wish to emphasize the importance that these steps take into consideration human rights and the principles set out in the Charter. We would also like to reiterate the importance of documenting the phenomenon of racial profiling to address it more effectively," said Philippe-André Tessier, President of the Commission.
In this regard, the Commission is disappointed that the judgment does not follow up on its request to the City of Repentigny to adopt an anti-profiling policy and to collect data on the perceived or presumed racial affiliation of persons who are intercepted. The Commission's latest recommendation to all Quebec police forces is to document the phenomenon of racial profiling through an independent database.
The Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Human Rights and Youth Commission) ensures the promotion and respect of the principles set out in the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. It also ensures that the interests of children are protected and that their rights recognized in the Youth Protection Act are respected and promoted. In addition, the Commission oversees compliance with the Act respecting Equal Access to Employment in Public Bodies.
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