A Black man who was allegedly stopped by police while driving a rental luxury car says he is filing a complaint to Quebec’s Human Rights Commission and the Police Ethics Commission.
On the Friday of Easter long weekend, Wayne King says he was driving a BMW SUV back to the rental company in the Côte-Des-Neiges area when he noticed police following him. After about a kilometre, he says he was pulled over by two officers.
“They came and the officer said to me he noticed I had a rental plate. So at that point, I asked him if that’s illegal. So he said no, they’re just doing a random spot check,” King said.
King believes he was targeted because he is a Black man.
“It wasn’t random because they had already seen who I was. I was a Black man, I have dreads and was driving a BMW so they felt the need to pull me over,” King explained.
“It’s very frustrating to be singled out and targeted.”
A report released in 2019 analyzed statistics of racial profiling between 2014 and 2017 within the SPVM (Service de police de la Ville de Montréal). It concluded that Black and Indigenous people are four times more likely to be stopped by police officers than white people.
King says he’s frustrated because it’s the second time in two years he has been stopped by police with unclear motives.
King says he was walking on Saint-Laurent Boulevard with his wife and son when police stopped him because they were looking for a man who fit his characteristics.
When he went to the station to complain, he says the picture of the wanted man didn’t even resemble him, other than being Black.
King filed a complaint at the time.
The new complaint would focus on the need to examine the practice of stopping Black drivers when they have a rental car, says Fo Niemi, executive director for the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR).
“It seems to happen more often than people want to admit and we want to know if there is a directive somewhere of stopping Black drivers who drive a rented car,” Niemi explained.
Montreal police say they won’t comment on the case.
In an email to Global News, they said in general, officers who observe an infraction to the road safety code have discretionary powers.
King, a father of four, says his children are the main reason he’s speaking out and wants the incident to be on the record.
“So one day hopefully when they get big enough… they won’t have to face this kind of discrimination,” King said.