Young blacks more likely to be arrested than whites
Published Saturday, March 21, 2009 6:47PM EDT
A new study concludes that young blacks in Montreal are twice as likely as young whites to be stopped and arrested by police.
The study was carried out by the University of Montreal's Centre de recherche de Montr�al sur les in�galit�s sociales et les discriminations (CREMIS).
Here's how the numbers break down:
- In 2001, 1518 youths between the ages of 12 and 18 were arrested on the Island of Montreal
- Of the arrests that resulted in charges, 340 cases -- or 22. 4% -- involved young blacks
- According to Statistics Canada, in 2001, there were 129, 490 youths in Montreal -- 88, 890 whites and 13, 105 blacks
Those numbers suggest that, proportionally, young black Montrealers are two times more likely than whites to find themselves with criminal records.
Incidentally, the release of the findings coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Community workers aren't surprised
The results come as no surprise to a number of outreach workers who spend time with youth in Montreal's black community.
Two black youths told CTV Montreal's Rob Lurie they've been repeatedly stopped by police without justification.
"Too many times, and a lot of times for no reason," said Garant Nlandu, who works at a community centre in Little Burgundy. "They're always looking for something."
Jean Gaetan, a local DJ, said his personal experience leads him to believe Montreal police make negative assumptions about young black males.
"They saw me in a brand new car and they thought I just stole it," he said.
Outreach worker Michael Farkas said that kind of stereotyping damages relations between black youths and Montreal police.
"There's a lot of animosity growing within the youth and you see it in different manifestations," Farkas said.
Politicians comment on study
Liberal MP Marlene Jennings also said she wasn't surprised by the findings of the study.
"It becomes a serious problem when we start to have significant gang activity, and then it seems like whatever race relations and sensitivity training that our police officers have seems to go out the window," said Jennings.
But Montreal city councillor Marvin Rotrand said for the most part, Montreal police are better trained than they were 25 years ago.
A few bad apples can give the whole Montreal police force a bad reputation, Rotrand added.
"Sometimes a couple of individuals with a more aggressive attitude give out the wrong message."