Two police departments north of Montreal accused of racial profiling over 'driving while black' incidents
MONTREAL -- Officers from two police departments north of Montreal are being accused of racial profiling, with one alleged victim saying he's been repeatedly stopped for “driving while black.”
Jonathan Woodley said the latest incident occurred on July 31.
“As I was driving up the streets, I noticed he was following me, so I called my wife to let her know that I was about to be pulled over by police,” he said.
Woodley said officers from the Terrebonne police department stopped him and accused him of driving a car registered to a woman – his wife, Stephanie Mucci – and saying he had illegally tinted taillights. Woodley was given a $171 ticket for the lights and a $274 ticket for swearing at a police officer.
That same night, Woodley said he had a second encounter with Mascouche police once he arrived home. He and his wife said police told them they were investigating a domestic disturbance.
“I went back to my car to pick up some more belongings and I noticed Mascouche police had come to my house,” he said.
Mucci said police kept trying to enter the home.
“They put their foot in the door, we kept asking them to please leave,” she said.
In June, Woodley described two other incidents to media: one in Laval and another that was also in Terrebonne.
“When I drive my car, it's 'We're stopping you for a random verification,'” he said. “When I drive my wife's car, 'You're driving a car registered to a woman.'”
Another North Shore driver, Pierre Monsanto, said he's been pulled over more than a dozen times over the past year.
“I've been pulled over 18 times, but I've decided to file complaints for 12,” he said.
Alain Babineau of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations, which is helping both Woodley and Monsanto file ethics and human rights complaints, called racial discrimination among police a systemic issue in the area.
“It's an entire county that seems to be under this,” he said. “It reminds me of black people being seen out of place in small towns.”
The Terrebonne and Mascouche police departments did not answer requests for comment.