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Montreal, April 29, 2008 --- Five years after his wrongful detention by police officers from the Montreal Police in the Côte des Neiges area, Mr. Garvey Lamontagne Dottin, a Black male in his forties, has been vindicated as the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission awarded him with $15,000 in moral and punitive damages for having been the victim of racial profiling.

At 2:20 am on January 19th, 2003, Mr. Dottin, an industrial manufacturing employee, Mr. Dottin, left a wedding party in his car with two other Black friends; the party was held in a Black community church in Côte des Neiges, one of Montreal's most multiracial neighborhoods. As he was about to leave, he got a call from a guest at the party who asked him for a lift. He backed his car into the parking lot, and went inside the hall. Two police officers came towards his parked car as he was going inside, not knowing that the police wanted to talk to him. Both officers followed him into the reception hall and proceeded to ask him if he was the driver of the car. Upon his confirmation, the officers proceeded to handcuff him in front of the guests and bring him into their police car with no explanation, despite his request. The officers later gave Mr. Dottin a $411 ticket for providing a false statement to the police. The Municipal Court judge eventually acquitted him of the offense and suggested that he seek redress for his rights violations.

CRARR filed a complaint on behalf of Mr. Dottin in August of 2003 claiming $30,000 in damages for discrimination from the two officers who engaged in racial profiling by intentionally, and maliciously abusing their power to arrest and detain him with no justification. CRARR also helped him file a complaint with the Police Ethics Commissioner, which ruled in his favor in 2005. The Police Ethics Committee, a specialized tribunal, concluded in June 2006 that both officers had illegally arrested and detained him. It imposed a two-day suspension without pay and a reprimand on one officer for the illegal arrest, and a reprimand on both officers for the illegal detention.

In its January 25, 2008 decision, which was released last week, the Commission concluded that Mr. Dottin was a victim of racial profiling, due to many factors: the lack of valid motive for his arrest and detention; inconsistent reasons to fine; the officers’ reference to street gangs and dangerosity at the community church to justify their conduct, contrary to police data, etc.). It ordered that $10,000 in moral damages, and $5,000 in punitive damages be paid to Mr. Dottin.

The Commission also ordered that the Montreal Police develop training and adopt measures to document and prevent racial profiling. The City of Montreal and its police employees have until May 2, 2008 to comply with the Commission's decision, failing which the case will be brought before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal.

This is the Commission's fourth positive decision within the last four months that involves CRARR-assisted cases on racial profiling.