Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, May 20, 2011 --- CRARR is receiving more complaints from Black Montrealers, both English-speaking and French-speaking, who face racial profiling and excessive force in their dealings with police officers and public transit inspectors.

Recent complaints include:

❐ A Black woman in her fifties who was intercepted on the bus and physically hauled by four inspectors out of the vehicle in broad daylight when she was calmly asking for the reason for her interception, since she slid her Opus card as she boarded the bus and paid her fare. Without providing her with an explanation, informing her of the grounds for her arrest and reading her rights, the inspectors gave her a fine for ”yelling.”

❐ A Black man in his sixties was stopped in the North-East end of Montreal, while driving his Cadillac in broad daylight. He was tailed by the police for several blocks and then stopped. As he was standing outside of his car and speaking to the female police officer about the reason for his interception, the male officer came towards him, violently grabbed his shirt and made obscene remarks, telling him to ”shut up” or he would arrested. After routing ID checks, the female officer noted that he was wearing a Canada Post uniform and then let him go.

❐ A young Black man in his early thirties came out of a club with a female friend and was driving home when intercepted by the police. Since he forgot his IDs at home, he was arrested and handcuffed, despite giving his name and address. He was then brought to the police station and detained, while the police called his sister in the wee hours of the morning to check his identity. He was later released with a fine for driving without a driver's license on him.

❐ A Black woman in her forties, an educator, came out of an apartment building in the East end at night, to wait for her pregnant daughter to go home with her. She saw a police car parked behind her car, which was parked in front of the building. Knowing that she was not supposed to park her car where it was, she told the female officer that she would move her car to the parking lot a couple of meters away and come back to talk to the officer. As she did so and came out of her car, two male officers came forward and violently grabbed her, threw her against her car and handcuffed her. They then searched her car, and eventually gave her fines for illegal parking ($52), using emergency car lights for purposes other than security ($95) and obstruction of an officer's work ($438).

This is a sample of more than a dozen cases that have been reported to the CRARR office in the last five months. One of the more serious cases involves use of excessive force in a family's home in the West-end of the city, resulting in the mother, two teen-age children and a teen-age niece being violent arrested and charged,in front of a 8 year-old child, subsequent to a case of mistaken information and identity.

The use of disproportionate force, often resulting in physical and psychological traumas, often goes hand in hand with the violation of these Black citizens' constitutional and civil rights, such as the right to be informed of the grounds for the arrest, the right to remain silent, the right to counsel and the right to be treated with humanity during detention and arrest.

All the above cases will be brought to the Quebec human rights commission, which has been under constant attacks by the City of Montreal with legal procedures to prevent the agency from investigating and proceeding against racial profiling and civil rights violations.

Individuals who are the target of racial profiling and violent police interventions are encouraged to contact CRARR first and not to file complaints with the Police Ethics Commissioner.