Black couple calls out Quebec Human Rights Commission after complaint dismissed

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Black couple calls out Quebec Human Rights Commission after complaint dismissed
WATCH: A Black couple is taking the Quebec Human Rights Commission to task for what they are calling a sloppy investigation. This after the commission dismissed the couple’s racial profiling complaint against Montreal police. As Global’s Phil Carpenter reports, a police ethic’s commissioner ruled against the officers for the same complaint. – Nov 1, 2023

Taylor Zamor says he’s still recovering from an altercation with Montreal police from three years ago at his apartment in Montreal’s Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood.

“It’s so hurtful,” he sobbed as he spoke to reporters during a press conference Wednesday.

He and his girlfriend, Anne-Pauline Kenscoff-Hawolange, are upset that the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (CDPDJ) dismissed their complaint against the police.

In 2020, Zamor says he and friends were watching the Superbowl in his apartment when Montreal police officers came banging at his door.  When he opened it, multiple officers burst in with firearms drawn, then threw him to the floor, he alleges.

“Another officer came in, got on top of me with his gun pointed at the back of my head,” he recounted.

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He claims the police searched his home and held other occupants at gunpoint without giving an explanation or providing a warrant.  Only later did the officers explain that there was a stabbing two blocks away, he says, and that they were looking for two Black suspects.

Zamor believes the police entered the apartment because they saw their Black roommate outside the building, who told police, when interrogated, that the people in the apartment were Black.

Fo Niemi of the civil rights group Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), who’s helping the couple, says they asked the CDPDJ multiple times if any other apartment was searched in this case, but that they got no answer.

The couple also complain that they were never interviewed by the CDPDJ to give their version. Still, in its conclusion, the CDPDJ said that there was no evidence of racial profiling by police.

But Quebec’s police ethics commissioner found that the officers did commit a number of violations including, “not behaving in such a way as to preserve the trust and consideration that their function requires.”

Their report adds that they did so, “by taking actions based on race and/or color,” and that the officers “failed to exercise their functions with integrity,” in that they “submitted an additional report knowing that it was false or inaccurate.”

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Niemi insists the couple should not have to fight for answers, and now they want to take further action.

“They (plan) to launch a lawsuit against the police officers involved and against the city,” he told reporters.

Niemi believes the credibility of the CDPDJ is at stake because, he alleges, there have been several questionable rulings in recent years.

Global News contacted the CDPDJ to give them an opportunity to comment, but we did not hear back in time for deadline.

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