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Black man fined, loses job after police profiling

The Red Coalition anti-racism group is filing ethics complaints against Laval police officers and the city's police chief, saying a case of racial profiling saw a single father receive two infractions and lose his job.

In September, Carl Luberisse was returning to work from a break and confronted in the parking lot by police officers who followed him earlier. After exiting his car, officers stopped and told the forklift operator his vehicle was registered to a 30-year-old person, he said Saturday. He replied “ok” and continued towards the building, attempting to enter when one officer forced the door shut, barring his access, grabbed his arm and demanded identification. Luberisse claims they refused to explain why and called for backup, as other employees witnessed the confrontation which was also recorded on security cameras. Two more officers arrived within minutes.
Eventually given fines of $494 for “obstructing a police officer” and $173 for “failing to signal a change of lane,” a few days after the incident Luberisse was dismissed by his employer – Aliments Bveggie Inc. – for “a lack of work.” A week later he discovered a forklift driver position advertised on the company website (posted two days after the incident.)
“This is a concrete example of the perverse use of section 636 (of the Highway Safety Code) for racial profiling,” said Alain Babineau, Red Coalition director of racial profiling and public safety, calling it “collateral damage” caused by the SPL’s fight against urban violence linked to firearms. “It’s the stereotyping of black men as all members of street gangs which continues through police powers to make random vehicle stops without reasons.” Laval Police have not commented on the case.
Red Coalition executive director Joel DeBellefeuille told The Suburban that charges will be filed against Director Pierre Brochet because "he is the person in charge and there has to be accountability,” adding that racial profiling goes far beyond mere fines or inconvenience; there's humiliation, loss of employment, affecting the family and community, and psychological well-being of the victim. “They just don't get it.”
“If the first thing a cop tells you is the car is registered to someone else, they already have it in their mind you are committing a crime. And why?” It's a black man driving to work, he says, and after all the efforts he makes to be told why he's being stopped, “they give him a ticket for obstruction and for not signaling a turn?” DeBellefeuille says police are “abusing section 636” as a lever.
When police stop someone under Section 636, he says “it must be for a moving violation or suspected impaired driving.” That’s not what they reportedly said to him, only what they ticketed him for. “That's the kicker.” Essentially says DeBellefeuille, police saw Luberisse, checked the plate, circled around, followed him, approached him, commanded him to stop, barred his entry to work, called in reinforcements and ultimately ticketed him for a simple moving violation, humiliating him at his workplace and possibly prompting his loss of employment.
“From what we're seeing, police don't know how to apply 636 properly, or they do and don't care, because they assume the driver isn’t going to complain and they usually win in court.” He says police can use random stops if they see a man driving a car registered to a woman and so on. “Sometimes they do, but often they see a black man in a nice car and stereotypes kick in.”
DeBellefeuille himself successfully pursued Longueil Police and the city of Longueil for a series of “driving while black” incidents. “Too many people don't complain because they don't know their rights. They never see the police report or what police wrote to justify their actions.”
There have been several high-profile cases in Laval, including a man violently dragged from a car by his hair after refusing to exit until told why he was asked to do so, which was filmed and went viral. Former Laval Mayor Marc Demers, a 30-year Laval police veteran, acknowledged the problem in 2020, as reported in The Suburban: “When asked if racial profiling exists within the Laval Police force, Demers, looking visibly uncomfortable, said ‘In my personal opinion yes, it exists at different levels’.”
Most recently, and shockingly, a man with complaints against Laval police reportedly found a document placed on his vehicle purporting to explain how officers amuse themselves during shifts. It’s authenticity has not been confirmed, but viewed by The Suburban and describes a ‘points pool’ where agents earn points for each action or arrest with token monies divided at week’s end, naming specific officers as arbiters of the contest ends in a draw.
It smacks of a culture of impunity says DeBellefeuille. “That's why the police director must answer for this, he's responsible for people beneath him.” The Coalition says it is also addressing a whole slew of similar racial profiling cases in Terrebonne.



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