A research group at Concordia University has released a report that shows racial profiling is still an issue in Montreal neighbourhoods where people of a visible minority congregate.
The group conducted a three-year study involving 48 in-depth interviews with young people aged 15 to 28 from the east-end Saint-Michel neighbourhood.
Most of the young people pointed out they are routinely stopped, watched and ID’d by police “for no reason.”
They also claim to have been victims of violence, threats and intimidation.
“These are the practices we’ve seen for years,” said Fo Niemi, executive director at the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR).
“We thought they stopped, but obviously they continue, and these young people continue to pay the price.”
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The report notes many of those affected by racial profiling experience trauma, stress, fear and insecurity — they also have less trust in police and in the justice system.
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“If we’re gonna deal seriously with racial profiling, we need to start with the policies of the SPVM that directly target minority kids or disproportionately affects minority kids,” said Anne-Marie Livingstone, who helped conduct the study.
The research group says in order to eliminate racial profiling, the Montreal Police should make race-based data publicly available, create an independent police watchdog and eliminate programs that target minority youth.
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Montreal Police Station 30 Commander, Marc Lauzon, told Global News that in his three years at the Saint-Michel police station, one of his priorities has been creating good relationships between police officers and citizens.
He said he’s surprised to hear the results of the report.
“I encourage anyone who has been a victim of racial profiling in our district to come to the station and file a complaint,” he said. “We will investigate.”
Next week, Montreal police are expected to present a strategic plan for the next three years on how to support personnel to prevent racial and social profiling.
The presentation will be followed by a public question period.
“I share their concerns – I don’t want them to feel that way,” said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante. “I want Montreal to be an inclusive and safe space for everyone.”
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