City of Longueuil facing contempt charges related to police racial profiling

"We were ignored," says Joel Debellefeuille, founder of Red Coalition about the City of Longueuil facing contempt charges after it failed to publish racial profiling data. Brittany Henriques reports.

By CityNews Staff

A 2012 racial profiling case has led to the City of Longueuil facing charges of contempt of court, for failure to publish data about racial profiling.

This is after Joel Debellefeuille won his racial profiling case against the Longueuil police in 2020.

The human rights tribunal ruled the city of Longueuil had to publish data related to racial profiling within 24 months – which it failed to do.

Now – a judge has summoned the city to enter a guilty or not-guilty plea on March 23, 2023, or face charges of contempt of court.

The Red Coalition is disappointed it has come to this.

“Racial profiling in Quebec will never correct itself if those in power seek to directly or indirectly stick a spoke in the wheels of change. There was the opportunity to address the problem and share the data with other law enforcement agencies across the province,” says Debellefeuille. “The City of Longueuil were served two demand letter via bailiff by the Red Coalition in November 2022 letting the know that time had lapsed and they had risked facing charges in court if they did not publish the data and province information on how their officers had been trained on racial profiling we have them 5 calendar days and in both instances we were ignored.”

“The fact that the human rights commission had a responsibility to follow up on this court orders and they failed to do so,” said Alain Babineau, director of racial profiling & public safety, red coalition.

The group filed a motion in court  claiming former Longueuil police chief and current Montreal police chief Fady Dagher had been told by the Ministry of Public Security to “wait” to implement the collection of race-based data on police interceptions of the presumed race of individuals, as they were planning on rolling out a program for all law enforcement agencies across the province.

“We’re here today to shed light on this extremely problematic overreach by the CAQ government which led to the city of Longueuil in breach of several orders by the court,” says Debellefeuille.

  • The definition of racial profiling recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in Quebec (CDPDJ) v. Bombardier Inc. (Bombardier Aerospace Training Center), 2015 SCC 39;
  • A summary of the case law on racial profiling, including this judgment;
  • A summary of the literature on the social context of racial profiling in police interventions;
  • The existence of the phenomenon of racial profiling in police interventions and the manifestation of conscious or unconscious prejudice during such interventions;
  • The principle types of prejudice and stereotypes associated with various racialized groups, including people of colour;
  • The principle signs of differential or unusual treatment that are characteristic of racial profiling in police interventions;
  • The identification of measures and practices to effectively counter racial profiling in police interventions; and
  • The prejudicial consequences of racial profiling on racialized persons and groups.

 

Both the Ministry of Public Security and the Longueuil police force previously told CityNews that Quebec’s ministry of public security has never – or will never- instruct a police force to defy the decision of any court.

“The highlighted sections in the letters that were given to you provided clear statement made by Chief Dagher that completely contradicts both statements made by the MSP and the Longueuil police,” says Debellefeuille.

On Wednesday, the minister of public security, François Bonnardel, presented a bill that addresses the issue of police stops.

The minister says he is committed to establishing guidelines to ensure that police stops based on discriminatory grounds are prohibited. If the guidelines are not followed, police officers could face disciplinary action.

Police forces will also be held accountable by providing annual information on the stops they have made.

Following the court case, Longueuil was ordered to complete a list, which included training for all officers in order to remove racial profiling based on the matters listed below. That training was supposed to happen within 24 months.

The summons marks the first time a municipality will appear in court for contempt charges.


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A letter issued by the former Longueuil Chief of police on Sep. 29, 2021, reads in part that a training development project to counter racism and racial and social profiling was supposed to begin in 2023 as part of a province-wide police mandate.

ACC-5050 DP – Lettre_29 Septembre 2021 CDPDJpj Highlighted

Wednesday, The Minister of Public Security, François Bonnardel, presented a vast bill that aims mainly to modernize certain practices of police forces.



Following the adoption of Bill 14, Minister Bonnardel is committed to establishing guidelines to ensure that police stops based on discriminatory grounds are prohibited. If the guidelines are not followed, police officers could face disciplinary action.

-With files from the Canadian Press

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