Quebec Human Rights Commission recommends City of Longueuil pay $86,000 in racial profiling case
The Quebec Human Rights Commission has recommended that the City of Longueuil pay $86,000 in damages to a Brossard family over a racial profiling incident that took place in 2013.
“I’m happy that it’s been acknowledged,” said Dominique Jacobs, whose son Terell and stepson Nathan were arrested for jaywalking at the Panama Bus Terminal. “I’m happy that the decision was made, but I’m very disappointed that it took five years to get there.”
After Terell and Nathan were arrested, police showed up at their home - which shocked Jacobs.
“I was very confused,” she said. “I was scared, nervous, angry, hurt.”
She alleges that the officers were disrespectful when she asked about their reasons for coming to her home.
“It was, ‘Calm the eff down, just give me the ID,’” she said of the officers’ responses.
Alain Babineau, a retired RCMP officer, said that the infraction did not warrant such an aggressive response from police.
“Jaywalking is a municipal bylaw infraction,” he said. “I mean, we’re not talking about criminal bandits or gangsters of any sort.”
Jacobs’ initial complaint with the Police Ethics Commissioner was dismissed, but the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission ruled in her favour.
“In the end, money talks,” said Fo Niemi of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations.
“It’s not only about the damages that the City of Longueuil will have to pay, but just think of the lawyer fees and the court fees that the city will have to pay.”
However, the decision includes more than just money.
The commission also wants the city to implement several proactive measures like updating its action plan against racism and discrimination, provide training for officers, and collect and publish data on the race of all individuals involved in police interventions.
A spokesperson for the City of Longueuil told CTV News that all of the city’s officers have undergone racial profile training and that it takes racial profiling seriously.
The next step in the process is a joint hearing and litigation with the Human Rights Tribunal, whose decision will be final but can be appealed by either side.
Niemi isn’t expecting a decision from the tribunal until at least 2020, but that a settlement could be reached before then.