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Red Coalition demanding Montreal police review street checks policy

By News Staff, Posted Jul 7, 2023, 11:42AM EDT, Last Updated Jul 7, 2023, 1:27PM EDT.

The Red Coalition is demanding the Montreal police (SPVM) “urgently” review the legal framework of their street checks policy.
They point to a recent case which Alain Babineau, Director of Racial Profiling with the Red Coalition says “is another example of a young Black male being stopped by police for no reason at all, except being Black.”
On June 23, 2023 at around 2:30 a.m., Cyrus Senior, 27, says he was stopped by the SPVM and told, it was late for him to be on the road. The Red Coalition says the police proceeded to check the plate of the vehicle and saw that it was registered to a woman, his mother. Cyrus is a DJ and was returning from working at a prom that night. There was no ticket issued.
Montreal police (SPVM) released a second report commissioned by the department on street checks and racial profiling just last month It concluded that racialized people are disproportionately targeted by random street checks. The university researchers that put together the report recommended temporarily suspending random police stops.
SPVM chief Fady Dagher said in June that he would not announce a moratorium on street checks.
“I don’t want to announce a symbolic measure, I want to solve the problem. So we’re going to maintain this practice and make sure it respects the rights and freedoms of all populations,” he said when the report was released.
In response to that, the Red Coalition has written a letter to Dagher asking that the SPVM immediately amend its street checks policy and provide a legal framework for the practice, as well as require that police officers have “reasonable suspicion in cases where a crime is about to occur or has occurred” before stopping a person to gather information.
The group is also asking for statistical purposes that a report be produced at the end of each stop, mentioning the perceived race or ethnicity of the person stopped.
Montreal police tell CityNews in a statement that they don’t usually comment on a particular police intervention, in order to prevent any influence on a possible legal, ethical or disciplinary process. They encourage anyone who feels wronged to file a complaint with the SPVM or an independent body. As for street checks, they say Chief Fady Dagher says he wanted to maintain it, calling it an important practice, but he said he wanted to ensure it’s free from bias and that it respects the rights and freedoms of all individuals.

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