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Anti-racism group says Montreal police withheld findings of racial profiling report


The Montreal police force (SPVM) is facing criticism from a local human rights group accusing the force of withholding the findings of a report on racial profiling by officers.

Three university professors served as independent experts and were tasked with writing a second report about racial profiling by SPVM officers. However, they finished their work months ago and expected their findings to be made public by now.

Anti-racism group The Red Coalition sent a letter to the SPVM, accusing it of sitting on the report since last summer.

"This delay from summertime until now, that in itself, is how systemic racism manifests itself. There's delays in the system. There's certain things that our elected officials, people in power, could have done to prevent certain actions related to racial profiling discrimination. They had the chance in the summer they chose not to," said Joel De Bellefeuille, founder of the Red Coalition.

The group alleges the Montreal police department is dismissing the report's findings about discrimination in its ranks and its procedures dealing with the public.

There is a range of measures that could be deployed to change police culture, said the Red Coalition, including collecting race-based data, training police cadets better, and installing body cameras on police uniforms.

The coalition said all these measures require a scientific basis if they are to go ahead.

According to the Red Coalition, this second report was more in-depth than the first and should include scientific data and analysis about racial bias and profiling by the SPVM.

The SPVM's media relations team responded to the Red Coalition's criticism Monday, saying the force has entrusted the independent researchers "to obtain an external viewpoint that will allow us to adjust the Policy on Police Interruptions based on scientific observations. The objective of this process is to continue improving our methods."

"A preliminary and partial version of the report was submitted to the SPVM at the end of 2022. Work is still in progress to complete the data analysis and research. Exchanges between our organization and the researchers are ongoing and productive," a statement read. "A final and complete version is expected in the coming months. The SPVM is committed to making the final report public."

Meantime, the Quebec government is currently appealing a court decision banning random roadside stops by police after a judge ruled those could be racially motivated and ordered them halted. Top Stories

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