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Quebec coalition filing racial profiling complaint against Terrebonne police over traffic stop

A Quebec man is planning to file a complaint against Terrebonne police after he says he was racially profiled in late October.

Hally Seme said he videotaped the interaction because it's not the first time he's been followed or stopped by police. He said it has happened on about 10 other occasions.
"They wait for me, they follow me, and then they pull me over," Seme said.
This time he was stopped on Oct. 31 in the early hours of the morning, after exiting Highway 25 near Gascon and Moody Streets.
He'd been on his way home after wrapping up a recording session in Montreal.
Seme shared the video with CTV News. It starts with him asking a police officer why she's pulling him over today.
The officer, he said, wouldn't give him a straight answer to his question.
"I asked her for a reason again and she said I didn’t do my stop correctly. She also spoke to me about being drunk," Seme said.
Seme said, however, he hadn't been drinking that night, and that police eventually gave him a ticket for having expired car insurance.
When he realized he had given the Terrebonne officer the wrong insurance papers he tried to correct his mistake, but the police officer was already walking back to her patrol car and so he stayed put in his vehicle.
"If I had come out of the car, maybe they would take it as a threat. There’s a lot of things you can’t do because you’re Black," Seme said.
The Red Coalition, a group that works to fight racial profiling by police in Quebec, is advocating for the Terrebonne resident in this case.
"Where the act of racial profiling comes out is the fact that when she returned to the vehicle she only gave him a ticket for insurance. Where she didn’t even mention insurance prior to that," said Joel Debellefeuille, the group's founder.
The coalition said the problem of racial profiling, in particular, while the person is in a moving vehicle, stems from article 636 of Quebec's Highway Safety Code, which allows police officers to randomly pull over drivers.
"(Article) 636 doesn’t require the police officer to have any type of motives, reason, causes — nothing. That’s the problem," said Alain Babineau, the organization's director of racial profiling and public safety.
That article is now at the centre of a legal battle. A judge recently invalidated random roadside stops by Quebec police forces but the province has decided to appeal the decision.
In a statement to CTV News, Terrebonne police confirmed their officer stopped Seme that morning.
“He was stopped under article 636 of Quebec's Highway Safety Code, for the verification of documents since the physical description did not match the owner registered with Quebec's automobile insurance board. The driver was given a ticket for an expired document," the statement read.
Police suggested Seme could file a complaint with the police ethics commissioner if he thinks he was unjustly targeted.
The Red Coalition plans to do just that on his behalf and will file a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission as well.
"We feel that there’s a misuse and misunderstanding of how to apply article 636 by officers when they’re intercepting Black drivers," Debellefeuille said.
Seme also plans to contest the $173 ticket.



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