Quebec government to appeal racial profiling ruling banning random stops by police

The Quebec government will appeal a court ruling that found stopping drivers without cause is a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, according to Radio-Canada.

Quebec Superior Court Judge Michel Yergeau ruled Oct. 24 that police can no longer conduct motor vehicle stops without cause, saying it provides police with “a safe conduit for racial profiling against the black community.

He gave the province a six-month grace period before the random stops were officially invalid.

The case was brought to court by Montrealer Joseph-Christopher Luamba, a 22-year-old black man, who said he was constantly stopped by police while driving.

Community groups had asked the Quebec government not to appeal the decision, saying it would be an important step in the fight against racial profiling.

But there were calls for an appeal from some law enforcement officials, who argued the decision would hamper police work.

After the ruling, Premier Francois Legault said his government would assess the “long” ruling before deciding whether to appeal it.

“We are against racial profiling, but in certain neighborhoods in Montreal, we need the police to continue to do their job randomly,” he said.

According to Radio-Canada sources, the Minister of Public Security, François Bonnardel, will officially announce that he will appeal the decision on Friday morning. The Minister Delegate for the Fight against Racism, Christopher Skeete, will also be present.

Sources tell Radio-Canada that they will also announce new measures to combat racial profiling.

Max Stanley Bazin, president of the Quebec Black Coalition, said in an interview with Radio-Canada that he was perplexed by the government’s appeal of the Yergeau decision.

According to him, the decision is solid.

“I don’t know what the government lawyers will say,” he said. “I don’t see how they could overturn the judgment.”

Bazin also said he was disappointed that the government – which has argued that there is no systemic racism in the province – is now outright challenging a decision that “contains facts, figures and reports that prove that racism system exists in Quebec,” he said.

“When the government tells us that it wants to support the work of police officers who are doing good work, but in fact we have evidence to the contrary, it is disconcerting,” he said.


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