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Thursday, December 9, 2021

Recommendations adopted to end police racial profiling

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Members of Montreal’s Public Security Commission met virtually on Friday and voted unanimously in favour of 25 recommendations — all in an effort to put an end to racial profiling by Montreal’s police department, the SPVM.

Some of the measures include prohibiting police officers from randomly arresting people based on their racial identity.

The police force is also required to record data and create a registry on the perceived race of people being questioned.

“The intent is to have a stronger policy so that we can combat this phenomenon of racial and social profiling,” Alex Norris, president of the commission told Global News.

There have been several high-profile cases involving racial discrimination practices by Montreal police in recent months.

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In January, Mamadi Fara Camara was arrested by officers and put in jail for six days for allegedly shooting at a police officer. Camara was exonerated after evidence showed he never committed the crime.

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“We want to tighten the controls over the arbitrary use of police powers,” Norris said.

Last year, the SPVM issued its own report to improve policing and race relations. And an independent study revealed officers are far more likely to stop visible minorities than white people.

Some advocates for minority groups say the recommendations go a long way in recognizing the problem and forcing officers to do a better job.

“This is, basically, a much greater improvement,” Fo Niemi, president of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations, said at a press conference.

But the timing of implementing the recommendations is coming under fire. Montreal’s executive committee has six months to reply and public hearings are scheduled to be held one year later.

That brings the calendar to mid-2022 before any changes in police practices are mandated.

“Well that gets them through a (municipal) election without us knowing whether there is any real change or not,” Montreal city councillor Marvin Rotrand told Global News.

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Many just hope officers will now hit the accelerator to regain the trust of visible minorities — and not wait until the recommendations come into force.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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