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Montreal, July 16, 2009 --- The two White police officers who were sanctioned by the police ethics tribunal back in 2007 for having made racially discriminatory statements to Black persons during an intervention in a private West Island home were denied leave to appeal the decision by the Quebec Court of Appeal last week.

In 2004, Ms. Gemma Raeburn, a prominent figure in Montreal's Black community, was cleaning out her garage with her two Black male friends when they were confronted by police officers responding to a neighbor's report that thieves wearing something black on their faces were looting Ms. Raeburn's home. When Ms. Raeburn told one officer pointing a gun at her that he would not have pulled his gun if she had been White, Officer Roger Carbonneau replied that “bullets don't see color.” Meanwhile, when Mr. Frederick Peters, one of the friends helping Ms. Raeburn move, objected to Officer Isabel Nault's rude tone, the officer told him to go back to his country if he did not “like it here.”

Both officers were sanctioned in February 2007 by the Police Ethics Committee, a tribunal that enforces the Quebec Code of Police Ethics. The Committee's decision was appealed by the officers to the Quebec Court, which overturned the Committee's decision in October 2008. In May 2009, the Superior Court reversed the lower court decision and restored the Committee's sanction. Both officers then sought leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal and lost. They now have 60 days from July 8, the day of the appellate court's decision, to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The case is currently still before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal, where the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission is seeking $20,000 in moral and punitive damages from the officers and their employer, the City of Montreal, for each of the three Black Montrealers involved. After CRARR helped file civil rights complaints on their behalf back in 2004, the Commission ruled in favor of the three victims in 2008. To this day, the City still maintains, through its lawyer, that the officers' statements were not racially discriminatory.

“We are not tired with these endless costly legal procedures, we are just angry at how some public institutions say one thing about human rights and then do something completely opposite, and how some have gone to great length to avoid consequences for their racially discriminatory acts,” said Ms. Raeburn.

“Frankly, this case shows why self-respecting Black and other right-minded Montrealers must come out this Fall and vote decisively to reject racism and to enshrine civil rights in our municipal institutions,” added CRARR's Executive Director Fo Niemi.