Several Montreal boroughs have adopted motions calling on the city to equip police with body cameras.
The Côtes-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce , Pierrefonds-Roxboro and Montreal North borough councils voted in favour Monday night calling on the city to outfit Montreal police (SPVM) officers with the surveillance technology.
The move comes on the heels of massive protests throughout North America after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis while in police custody. Thousands of Montrealers took to the street Sunday to protest police violence and racism.
The motion pushing for body cameras on officers is backed by the city’s official Opposition.
In Côtes-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (CDN-NDG), Ensemble Montreal Leader Lionel Perez tabled the motion.
“Enough is enough,” Perez said. “We’re asking for the city to change its position to go ahead and implement body cameras.”
Borough Mayor Sue Montgomery said she was pleasantly surprised to see her council unanimously vote in favor of the motion, including members from Projet Montreal.
“It’s time to go beyond hashtags and showing outrage about police brutality,” she said.
In 2019, Montreal opted not to outfit the SPVM force with body cameras after looking over results from a 2016 pilot project.
A total of 78 officers wore the device for a seven-month period. Cost and equipment issues were cited as the reason for the administration’s decision.
The city was always in favour of body cameras, according to executive committee member, Rosannie Filato, who is responsible for public security.
Filato said while the subject has been brought back to the table, the city has always seen the value in the technology.
“For us at the city, we want to go forward with body cameras,” Filato said, adding the city is currently in talks over provincial and federal approval.
They are also looking into more cost-effective and modern technology while overseeing the logistical issue, she said.
“This is not all municipal jurisdiction — we want the deployment of cameras but we want to have a system that citizens can have confidence in.”
The city says it still has no time frame for when body cameras will be deployed.
“We need to implement change, we have systemic bias and discrimination,” Perez said.
“We need to address it — this is one measure that will do that quickly.”