Longueuil police accused of abusing power when arresting black teens
Published Thursday, December 5, 2013 12:16PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, December 5, 2013 8:29PM EST
A South Shore family is alleging members of the Longueuil police force abused their power, and as a result is planning to file complaints with the Human Rights Commission and the Police Ethics Commission.
The Centre For Research Action On Race Relations (CRARR) says that it has seen minorities ticketed for minor offences in the past, but it has never seen two teenagers handcuffed for jaywalking and at no time told why they were being detained.
The incident took place on November 15 when 19-year-old Nathan Picard and his 17-year-old brother were headed home at 1 a.m.
They were at the Panama bus terminal in Brossard after visiting friends when they were approached by police.
When the officers left the boys started to cross the street to walk home when police returned.
The family says the officers pulled up in a squad car, told the boys to put their hands behind their backs, and then threw them against the vehicles.
Dominque Jacobs, the mother of the boys, is convinced this is a case of racial profiling.
"They were basically the only two black kids walking with a hoodie and a hat and a backpack. The police initially came up to them and said, 'Ca va?' They said, ''yes, it's fine. Everything's fine and we're going home,'' said Jacobs.
The boys say they asked what they had done wrong but police never answered, driving them home, and then one officer pushed his way inside after ringing the bell.
They say the officer refused to answer any questions from the mother and then became abusive.
They also say that when they asked the officers for their badge numbers, one of the officers swore at the family.
"They jaywalked. The excessive force that was used, the way that they treated us in our home, it was just unacceptable. It was unacceptable and I do believe that this is a case of racial profiling," said Jacobs.
"They were basically the only two black kids walking with hoodies and a hat and a back pack,” she said.
Each boy was ticketed for jaywalking and interfering with the work of a police officer.
CRARR director Fo Niemi said that the group intends to file complaints with the Quebec Human Rights Commission, the Police Ethics Commission as well as the City of Longueuil next week.
Longueuil police told CTV Montreal that they would work to determine what happened.
“We have requested an investigation into these events. We will meet with the witnesses and analyze all the aspects of this case, following a thorough investigation we will take all the necessary measures if need be,” said Captain Nancy Colagiacomo of the Longueuil Police Department.
History of racial profiling
Other officers in Longueuil have been condemned for racial profiling.
In 2012 Joel Debellefeuille won a three-year legal battle after he was repeatedly pulled over while driving his new BMW.
In court an officer admitted that the only reason Debellefeuille was stopped was because of his skin colour.
The police officers in that case were reprimanded.