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Racial profiling victims say police complaint system is broken in Repentigny, Que.

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Racial profiling victims say police complaint system is broken in Repentigny, Que.
WATCH: The Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) says it's filed 11 complaints over the past three years with Quebec's police ethics commissioner against Repentigny police. Olivia O'Malley reports – Dec 4, 2022

The Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) says it’s filed 11 complaints over the past three years with Quebec’s police ethics commissioner against Repentigny police. Despite this, the committee has not made a single decision on potential racial profiling in the police force.

“The system, it’s a little bit broken, especially when it comes to police ethics complaints involving Repentigny,” said CRARR director, Fo Niemi.

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CRARR says three of their clients — Hézu Kpowbié, François Ducas and Fabien Ruault’s son, who was 12 at the time he was handcuffed by police — are part of a pattern. Each of their complaints were dismissed and never made it past mandatory conciliation.

Yet in all three cases, the province’s human rights and youth rights commission ruled in their favour, saying they were victims of racial profiling.

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“This is one of the contradictions that people want to raise, because it requires further clarification as to how the commissioner looks at complaints of racial profiling,” said Niemi.

On Sunday, the group said it’s time the government reform the police ethics system in order to better protect all citizens.

“You don’t feel that the [police ethics commissioner] is protecting us, we feel that they are only protecting the police officer,” said Kpowbié.

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Currently, racial profiling victims say conciliation is very intimidating and they are often outnumbered by police. Officers involved in a complaint also have the legal right to not participate in an investigation.

“That’s an abomination that has to be changed because, basically, that gives the police officer much too much power,” said Niemi.

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In an email to Global News, the ministry of public security says “all forms of racism and discrimination are unacceptable,” adding, “the ethics process is independent and rigorous.”

The complainants hope changes to the ethics system will be considered. In the meantime, CRARR continues to gather testimonies from alleged racial profiling victims in Repentigny.

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