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'Black and driving a luxury vehicle': Quebec man wins racial profiling case against Repentigny police


The Quebec Human Rights Tribunal has ruled the Repentigny Police Service racially profiled a Black high school teacher in 2017 and the city has been ordered to pay him $8,000 in damages.

The tribunal ruled recently that François Ducas, a special education teacher and father of two, "was subject to a random stop because he was Black and was driving a luxury vehicle."

Ducas was driving his blue BMW on Dec. 8, 2017 to meet one of his students who was doing an internship when he was pulled over near Pare Boulevard.

For him, it was a usual encounter. He'd been stopped by police before for no apparent reason and this time, feeling that he'd had enough, he vowed not to comply with their demands. The officer asks him for his identification and his papers, questioning him whether or not the car is his.

He refused and called 911, but the dispatcher told him to cooperate with the officer's demands. A second officer intervenes and repeats their demand for his documentation.


"They told me that if I didn't hand over my papers, they would arrest me," Ducas recalled during a news conference Wednesday reacting to the ruling. 

Within minutes, he was handcuffed and searched on the sidewalk when police eventually found the papers they were looking for.

A few days after the incident, Ducas received two tickets in the mail: one for obstructing a peace officer and another for swearing at a peace officer, both of which he paid. Three months later, he filed a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission, which took the case to the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal. 

In a decision dated July 20, the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the police officers violated his rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that he was targeted due to the colour of his skin.

In requesting the case be thrown out, the city argued that the two police officers' conduct was not related to the colour of Ducas' skin and that the officers' intervention was justified under the Highway Safety Code.

The tribunal disagreed, writing that the officers would not have decided to turn around and follow Ducas if he were white.

"This decision cannot be explained otherwise than by stereotypes, unconscious biases," the tribunal wrote.

"The racial profiling to which Mr. Ducas was subjected violated the preservation of his dignity and caused him stress, the marks of which he still bears."

The city was ordered to pay him $8,000 in moral damages to denounce the officers' conduct.

"It's a good start," Ducas said, but added that the way Black people are treated in Repentigny needs to change.

The financial award was a disappointing amount for Fo Niemi, executive director of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR).

"It amounts to about $2,000 a year for all the suffering, all the humiliation, all the stress that he had to go through. It sends the message that Black lives are cheap," Niemi said.


In an email statement, the City of Repentigny said its police department has taken serious steps to combat racial profiling and pointed to an independent action plan commissioned last year, which included a list of recommendations which are being evaluated by an external agency. They include public consultations with local cultural and social groups and participation in the government's ACE program to diversity its police force.

"Like anyone, police officers have conscious and unconscious biases. As they carry out their duties, it is vital to be aware of that so that their every action is exempt of any form of discrimination," the city said in a statement issued Wednesday.

But Niemi said the city's plan doesn’t go far enough.

"The tribunal said they [the city] don’t see the need to impose race-based data collection so they can better measure and quantify the kinds of people that are being stopped by police," he said.

Ducas said with this decision, no one can deny the existence of racial profiling in Repentigny.

"I fought against racial profiling. Now, they can no longer say there is no racial profiling in Repentigny," Ducas said.

Ducas has now moved out of Repentigny and said he will donate the $8,000 to charity. He hopes this ruling will help others who have faced discrimination by the Repentigny Police Service, but what he really wants is an apology from the city. Top Stories

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