Pradel Content doesn’t feel the Quebec government is looking out for his best interests.
The Laval resident is disappointed the province’s political leaders have decided to appeal a Superior Court ruling that would have precluded police officers from pulling over drivers without just cause.
“This is very hurtful and it’s condescending,” Content told Global News.
The government is appealing a decision made last month by Quebec Superior Court Judge Michel Yergeau who ruled in favour of Joseph-Christopher Luamba, a Black Montrealer who accused police officers of pulling him over multiple times without just cause.
Content, who is also Black, says the same thing has happened to him dozens of times and argues the actions by police officers are unjust.
Government officials say they won’t tolerate any racial profiling by police officers and are taking steps to better educate and train them. But the Minister of Public Security and the Minister Responsible for the Fight Against Racism both argue that officers need to carry out random checks to make sure people aren’t violating any laws.
“Having a driver’s license in Quebec is a privilege. As an extension of that privilege, police officers are allowed to do certain verifications,” said Christopher Skeete, the Minister Responsible for the Fight Against Racism.
Section 636 of the Quebec Highway Safety Code states: “Every peace officer recognizable as such at first sight may require the driver of a road vehicle to stop his vehicle. The driver must comply with this requirement without delay.”
“(Section) 636 is an important tool but we have to develop guidelines concerning racial profiling,”Skeete said.
But civil rights’ activists argue racial profiling will continue to exists as long as section 636 remains in force. They’re calling for it to be revoked.
“Section 636 should be abolished completely,” Kemba Mitchell, a community, youth and social justice advocate, told Global News.
Others agree, arguing police officers need more education and training on racial profiling but it’s not enough unless section 636 is abolished.
“The work has not been done, or not enough to end racial profiling,” Laurence Guénette of the Quebec Civil Liberties Union, told Global News.
It’s a feeling shared by Content, who says he uses his car as little as possible to avoid being pulled over.