(Quebec) The Supreme Court of Canada has given reason to Quebec City and two of his officers by refusing to hear the cause of racial profiling Marie-Anne Pierre-Louis and his son, a case dating back to 2003.
On 6 April 2003, two Quebec City police stopped the vehicle of the Haitian woman while traveling Palace coast.
Marie-Anne Pierre-Louis and her twin 17 year old son at the time went to a dinner to celebrate the basketball championship won by the team of the Seminary of Quebec, which included two teenagers.
Police reportedly checked their identity by claiming that their vehicle was “of interest” and suspecting that they “may be involved in criminal groups,” according to the lawsuit filed by the family later in Superior Court.
Convinced that this was an intervention racialized at a time when the Wolf Pack gang made headlines, Ms. Pierre-Louis complained police ethics. In its 2006 decision, the Police Ethics Committee has concluded that the two officers had engaged in racial profiling and imposed suspensions of five days.
Long legal saga
This is a result of the decision that Ms. Pierre-Louis and his son decided to bring a civil action against the police officers involved and Quebec City. The city responded with a motion to dismiss, arguing that according to the Law on cities and towns, the pursuit should have been filed within six months after the fact.
The Superior Court ruled in favor of the City, but Pierre-Louis took the case on appeal, arguing that the prescription was suspended three days after the fact by filing a complaint with the Human Rights Commission. Court proceedings must indeed be interrupted time for the Commission to study (it was finally removed from the file, the family chose a civil lawsuit).
The Court of Appeal therefore overturned the decision of the Superior Court. And by refusing to hear the City of Quebec, the Supreme Court upheld the Pierre-Louis right to take civil action. The file is returned to the Superior Court.
In their lawsuit, the mother and her son alleged that they “now feel [they may] not be full citizens.” They also said they feared the police, have lived in social isolation and suffered from sleep and health problems. Their lawyer at the time, Mr. Noël St-Pierre, lamented that the Quebec police had “no policy” to avoid racial profiling.
After checking with the police department, it has trained its staff to ethnic realities and dangers of racial profiling in 2011 and 2012. The training, given in particular by the police officer Jean-Francois Vezina, coordinator of cultural communities concerned how to intervene with minorities.
Still, the Superior Court ruled that the two officers were not at fault and could not conclude racial profiling, a decision upheld by the Court of Appeal.
The burden of proof
On Thursday, the Supreme Court rejected the request of the mother of family leave to appeal and his son, who wanted to include the Canada’s highest court rules on this question: What is the burden of proof to establish the the existence of racial profiling in a civil case?
In an interview to the Sun, the family lawyer, Mr. Cory Verbauwhede, said he was disappointed with the refusal of the Supreme Court to study the issue of “national interest”.
“The Court of Appeal for Ontario, for example, sets a very low burden of proof for the prosecution, while the Quebec Court of Appeal asks almost there is a smoking gun, that is, -dire direct evidence. Would have had the police say something directly racist. There were some bodied exchanges [between police and Pierre-Louis], but nothing explicitly racist. We, what we had, it was just several irregularities, “explains Me Verbauwhede, who said that” it will never happen to prove a cause of racial profiling if the Quebec Court of Appeal sets the bar so high. ”
“Racial profiling is subtle,” says the lawyer.
Quebec City not deses after penalties
Quebec City is not the end of his troubles as she faces a lawsuit by the Commission on Human Rights and Youth Rights (CDPJ), this time for a political profiling case .
The CDPJ believes that demonstrators spring maple were victims of political profiling at an event which took place on April 27, 2012 Grande Allée. The police had then arrested and detained temporarily present 81 of the 200 demonstrators and handed some statements of offense.
The CDPJ investigated the arrests after the League of Rights and Freedoms had complained. And she agreed with the League.
In its decision dated 2 June, the Commission argues that the police arrested without justification at least 36 protesters simply because they wore a red square. So she asks the Court of Human Rights to condemn the city and its police officers to pay $ 6,000 in moral and punitive damages for each of the 36 people arrested.
The organization also claims that police officers receive training on the right to demonstrate in public space.