Activists respond to Repentigny, Que., police’s plan to tackle racial profiling

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Community activists spoke to media on Sunday to express their reservations and criticisms of the Repentigny police department's organizational change action plan to address racial profiling by its officers in the community. Global's Victoria Bakos reports – Sep 26, 2021

Repentigny police have outlined an action plan that they hope will eliminate systemic racism. The plan will take about five years to roll out all of the steps.

The steps include fives components in their series of initiatives. The components are the following: organizational culture, operations, human resources, communications and ecosystem.

However, this morning, Black community organizations expressed their reservations in regards to the plan announced by police on Sept. 16.

“This action plan is developed and has been adopted in response to many complaints and lawsuits involving racial profiling here in Repentigny, complaints with the Black communities,” said Fo Niemi, director of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR).

Read more: ‘Why three bullets?’: Family of Black Quebec man shot dead by police wants answers

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A spokesperson for the Repentigny police department tells Global News that it takes time to build trust, which is why they are taking five years to roll out the series of initiatives.

“Five years is not five days, it’s way too long to me. If maybe you make a meeting, you call the community then you call the person involved in that situation, maybe they can try to get it to resolve that problem,” said Serge Damord, community activist.

The mother of Jean-Rene Olivier also expressed concerns about the new plan at this morning’s meeting. Marie-Mireille Bence lost her son in August when he was shot by a Repentigny police officer. An investigation into the shooting is still ongoing.

Read more: Vigil organizers want justice after Black man killed by police in Montreal suburb

“More importantly, right now we have to help Mrs. Bence file a complaint of systemic racism with the Quebec of human rights commission and the police ethics commission over what happened to her son and family on August 1st because, in the end, it’s about real people,” said Niemi.

Repentigny police unveiled their action plan in hopes to end racial profiling in their city, but say the plan has already been put into action in Sept. 2020.

They are the first in Quebec to adopt an action plan that will take into account racist or discriminatory interventions. The police department tells Global News that they teamed up with Agence Unea to help them become a more diverse, inclusive organization. They will keep the public informed as their action plan evolves.


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