Racial profiling: coalition of groups urge Montreal cease police street checks
A coalition of groups are calling on Montreal to end random police checks because they disproportionately target minorities.
The call comes in the wake of an independent report commissioned by the SPVM found that a black person is almost five times more likely to be stopped by Montreal police than a white person, an indigenous woman, 11 times more likely.
While the study found what it called "systemic bias" by Montreal police, it did not state that officers were involved in racial profiling.
Street checks are sometimes useful, according to Alain Babineau, a former RCMP officer, but too often, the practice is a manifestation of an officer's racial bias.
"The problem occurs when people, police officers go on a hunch based on a stereotype looking for people that they think are involved in criminality," he said.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said she found the revelations shocking, so did Montreal's police chief, Sylvain Caron.
On Friday, however, minority groups asked for action: they want a moratorium on street checks. Other cities have already banned the practice, according to Sharon Nelson, from the Jamaica Association of Montreal.
Young black men subjected to street checks feel shocked and humiliated, she said.
"They feel that they cannot trust the police anymore because they are now known to police because they are part of that database," she said.
City councillor Marvin Rotrand said he would present a motion to ban street checks at a coming city council meeting.
To see the full interview with Sharon Nelson watch the video above.