Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montreal, April 2, 2012 --- Joel Debellefeuille, the black South Shore BMW owner and driver who was stopped in 2009 by a Longueuil police officer for his French name, has once again been stopped by the Longueuil police while driving to his son’s daycare center two weeks ago.

On March 22, 2012, at around 10 :00 am, while driving his family in his grey 2001 BMW 320I to a daycare center in Brossard, Mr. Debellefeuille was followed by a Longueuil Police vehicle for eleven blocks on Malo St. The police car drove by in the opposite direction before making an abrupt u-turn to tail Mr. Debellefeuille until he stopped in front of the daycare on Croissant Moreau.

As he was carrying his one year-old child inside, the police car drove by, turned around and stopped in front of the daycare. The police officer on the driver’s side rolled down the window and asked Mr. Debellefeuille for his IDs, who was still carrying his son in his arms. Facing the officer’s insistance on having his IDs, he told the officer that he wanted to carry his child inside; which the officer eventually allowed him to do. When he came out, he gave his IDs to the officer who did a computer check and then left. During this time, the daycare center’s owner, accompanied by some children, told the officer that his interception was disrespectful towards a father who was bringing his child to daycare.

Mr. Debellefeuille told the two officers that they were trying to intimidate and harass him, and felt unsafe to the point where his wife, who was in the car, had to call his lawyer during the check.

Last November, Mr. Debellefeuille appealed a Municipal Court decision that found him guilty of a Highway Traffic Code violation arising from the 2009 incident. When the lower court dismissed his racial profiling claim and declared him guilty, Mr. Debellefeuille appealed the ruling to the Superior Court, which struck down the decision and return the case to the Municipal Court for a re-trial. In the same ruling, the Superior Court also stated that trial judges must take into account the defense of racial profiling. This represents a minor legal victory as lower courts tend to sidestep this issue. The case was re-heard by the Municipal Court last month, and a ruling is expected in mid-May.

Mr. Debellefeuille has mandated CRARR to file a civil rights complaint on his behalf against the City of Longueuil. In January 2012, CRARR also filed a racial profiling against the City on behalf of another black resident of Brossard who was regularly stopped while driving her BMW in the area.