After SPVM officer allegedly tried to get him fired, man wins $18,000 ruling
Published Sunday, November 17, 2019 9:11PM EST
The City of Montreal and an SPVM officer has been asked to pay a black security guard $18,000 over a 2016 incident in which the guard alleges he was racially profiled.
At the time Rivelino Belizaire was working as a guard at Ahuntsic College. He said he was on a break when an SPVM officer stopped him as he jaywalked across the street near the school.
Belizaire was given a $48 fine and made to repeat his name several times. He said the officer, Eric Locas, told him he wasn’t easy to understand.
The next day Locas returned to the college to complain to Belizaire’s supervisor about his attitude.
In a January 2018 ruling, the police ethics committee said that action was inappropriate.
Alain Babineau, a former RCMP officer and advisor to the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations, said Locas must have known his actions could have led to dire consequences for Belizaire.
“For jaywalking, most bosses, most people believe the police implicitly,” he said. “Whatever the police says, goes. So when they show up at your workplace and talk to your boss and complain about your behaviour, in most places unfortunately the employee will lose their job.”
According to CRARR Locas has been the subject of several complaints filed by non-Francophones and ethnic minorities. The police ethics commission suspended him for 12 days without pay and recommended training on dealing with the public over Belizaire’s case.
In their ruling the Human Rights Commission called on the City of Montreal to pay Belizaire $15,000 and for Locas to pay $3,000.
Last month, Montreal police were forced to address a racial bias issue within the ranks after researchers found black people were 4.2 times more likely to be stopped by officers.