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Man alleges random police stop in South Shore led to illegal search, fine for contraband cigarettes

By News Staff, Posted Jul 26, 2023, 3:00PM EDT, Last Updated Jul 26, 2023, 7:23PM EDT.

A Quebec anti-racism group alleges a random police stop on Montreal’s South Shore earlier this month led to more than $1,100 in fines – in large part for having what police deemed were contraband cigarettes.
Red Coalition says Iman Niknam was stopped by Roussillon police in Sainte Catherine, south of Montreal, July 8 around 8 a.m. suspected he was being racially profiled and asked the officer why she was stopping him.
“Are you smoking Indian cigarettes? You know, I can give you a ticket for that if you want to be rude,” Red Coalition alleges the officer told Niknam.
The group says the officer then asked him for his driver’s licence, registration, and proof of insurance. Niknam could not find his insurance papers at first.
The officer issued Niknam a $64 ticket for not providing the proof of insurance, though the man had managed to find it by then and tried showing it to the officer. Red Coalition says the officer told him it was too late.
The officer eventually told Niknam she stopped him because his vehicle had an “F” licence plate and she wanted to check who the driver was, the anti-racism group alleges.
The officer allegedly ordered Niknam out of his vehicle and searched it, without his consent, finding six cigarettes she claimed were contraband.
Niknam was issued a $549 ticket for possessing the contraband cigarettes and a $499 ticket for obstructing a peace officer.
Part of the interaction was recorded by Niknam.
“The officer showed gross incompetence and troubling unprofessionalism,” said Alain Babineau, the director of racial profiling at Red Coalition. “Not only was Mr. Niknam racially profiled, but he was also detained illegally, and his vehicle searched without a warrant. This is once again an example of the perverted use of article 636 of the Quebec Highway Safety Code that leads to racial profiling.”
“The financial burden of sky-high insurance premiums and other aspects of racial profiling seem to be beyond the comprehension of law enforcement officers whilst they intercept members of the BIPOC Community,” added Joel DeBellefeuille, the founder of Red Coalition.



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