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


Montreal, July 14, 2006  --- A young Black male has just made Quebec legal history in a racial profiling case by receiving a favorable decision by the Quebec Human Rights Commission against the Montreal Transit Corporation. It is the Commission's first decision on racial profiling.

In December 2002, Mr. Marc-Arthur Charmant Legros, a 14-year-old Black student, too the subway at the Laurier metro station to go home from school. As the subway train was approaching the dock, overflowing with commuters, he decided to wait for the next train. Two metro security guards approached Mr. Charmant Legros and asked him to either get onto one of trains or leave the station. Replying that he would prefer to leave, he proceeded to leave with friends when one of the guards twisted his arm behind his back and brought him into a room to detain him. Mr. Charmant Legros was then fined $93 for refusing to circulate when requested to do so. His mother Gladys Charmant later contested the ticket with success in city court in March 2003. Immediately following this incident, a MTC security guard went to the youth's school to report him to the Director. Knowing that Mr. Charmant Legros was an good student, the school's principal informed his mother of this unjustified visit. Believing that the security sergeant's act as abusive and discriminatory, Ms. Charmant mandated CRARR to file a complaint with the Commission.

In its decision, the Commission claims $15,000 in moral and punitive damages from the MTC and the three security offficers implicated in the incident. Furthermore, it requires the MTC to hold with the Commission's input, racial profiling training for its security personnel. CRARR is hoping that the MTC will not contest this decision in court at taxpayers' expense.

“Justice has finally come to my son. It has been a long three-years wait, but we are pleased that the human rights commission finally takes strong action to stop racial profiling”, said Ms. Charmant. “No child should go through when he went through. I call on all parents and youths who have been discriminated in the metro in Montreal to take legal action like I did to protect their civil rights”, she added.

According to CRARR's Executive Director, Fo Niemi, this decision is of critical importance in light of the number of complaints of racial profiling and civil right violations committed by many security guards and police officers against young Black males and other minority youths in the metro. CRARR currently has about twenty complaints that have been filed with the Human Rights Commission and the Police Ethics Committee implicating incidents that occurred in and outside of the metro.

“The Commission has just sent a firm message to MTS and all law enforcement personnel with respect to their legal duty to perform their functions in conformity with the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and to prevent racial profiling as well as the criminalization of our youths”, concluded M. Niemi.