Thousands treated unfairly by Montreal police, advocates say at systemic racism hearings
MONTREAL – Thousands of people are being treated unfairly by Montreal police, advocacy groups said Thursday at the hearings into the problem of systemic racism in Montreal.
They spoke in particular about the challenges faced by Indigenous people and newly arrived migrants.
The consultations come after more than 20,000 people signed a petition compelling Montreal officials to do something about systemic racism and discrimination.
An independent report released earlier this month by Montreal police found that officers stop and question people of colour, as well as people of First Nations descent, far more than white people.
The study looked at incidents between 2014 and 2017 and found that, in Montreal, an Indigenous person was 4.6 times more likely to be stopped for a street check than a white person.
A black person was 4.2 times more likely to be stopped, while people of Arab descent were twice as likely to be stopped.
While the study found what it called "systemic bias" by Montreal police, it did not state that officers were involved in racial profiling.
Advocates for new migrants stated Thursday that police also have access to too much of their information.
They argue people of colour who have no immigration status in Canada feel unsafe around police officers because they are afraid of being reported to federal authorities.
Montreal police says it is currently looking at ways to reduce and eliminate racial profiling in its force.
Public hearings into systemic racism in Montreal are expected to continue on Nov. 5 and 7, as well as Dec. 7.
A full report is expected to be handed to the city in early 2020, and then the city will have 60 days to announce what its plan is.