Police can't pull over a driver without cause, Quebec Superi

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Police can't pull over a driver without cause, Quebec Superi

Postby Thomas » Wed Oct 26, 2022 5:19 pm

Police can't pull over a driver without cause, Quebec Superior Court rules in racial profiling case

'Racial profiling does exist,' court says in ruling after Black Montrealer launches legal fight for change

Police motor vehicle stops without cause are a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Quebec Superior Court ruled Tuesday.

The decision won't put an end to racial profiling overnight, Judge Michel Yergeau wrote in his ruling, but the court is allowing a six-month delay until the rules allowing random stops are officially invalid.

"Racial profiling does exist. It is not a laboratory-constructed abstraction. It is not a view of the mind. It is a reality that weighs heavily on Black communities. It manifests itself in particular among Black drivers of motor vehicles," Yergeau said.

"Charter rights can no longer be left in thrall to an unlikely moment of epiphany by the police. Ethics and justice must go hand in hand to turn this page."

The time has come for the judicial system to recognize and declare that this "unbounded power" violates some right guaranteed to the community, the court said.

Montrealer leads charge for change

This decision comes after Montrealer Joseph-Christopher Luamba, a 22-year-old Black man, told the court he gets ready to pull over whenever he sees a police cruiser.

In the 18 months after he got his driver's licence in March 2018, Luamba said he was stopped by police around 10 times for no specific reason. He said he was driving a car during about half the stops and was a passenger in another person's car during the other police stops.

Those traffic stops were at the heart of the lawsuit that he filed against the Canadian and Quebec governments. The case began in May of this year.

Luamba said he believes he was racially profiled during the traffic stops — none of which resulted in a ticket. Common law has long allowed Canadian police to stop people for no reason, but Luamba has been fighting for the practice to be declared unconstitutional.

"I was frustrated," he told the court. "Why was I stopped? I followed the rules. I didn't commit any infractions."

Lawyers for Luamba and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which has intervener status in the case, told the court that the power of police to randomly stop drivers, outside of drunk driving checkpoints, is unconstitutional and enables racial profiling.

The court ruled on Tuesday that this practice violates the rights guaranteed by Sections 7 and 9 and paragraph 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"The preponderant evidence shows that over time, the arbitrary power granted to the police to carry out roadside stops without cause has become for some of them a vector, even a safe conduit for racial profiling against the Black community," wrote Yergeau in his ruling.

Challenging Supreme Court ruling

Yergeau's ruling challenges the rules established by a 1990 Supreme Court decision, R. v. Ladouceur, where the high court ruled that police were justified when they issued a summons to an Ontario driver who had been stopped randomly and who had been driving with a suspended licence.

The high court ruled that random stops were the only way to determine whether drivers are properly licensed, whether a vehicle's seatbelts work and whether a driver is impaired.

But Yergeau wrote it was time for the justice system to declare this power, which violates certain constitutional rights, obsolete and inoperable, as well as the article of Quebec's provincial Highway Safety Code that allows it.

Still, Yergeau wrote that the ruling applies specifically to the random stops. He said the ruling is not meant to be an inquiry report on systemic racism involving racialized or Indigenous peoples.

The judge also said the ruling is not about racism within police forces, saying the court heard no evidence in this regard, nor did it draw a conclusion.

But he noted that "racial profiling can sneakily creep into police practice without police officers in general being driven by racist values."

Lawyers for the Canadian and Quebec governments argued that the Supreme Court was right to uphold the rule allowing random stops, which they say is an important tool for fighting drunk driving.

Police forces testified about the different efforts made to curb racial profiling and diversify their rank and file.

There was no immediate word on a possible appeal.

At the federal level, a spokesperson for Minister of Justice David Lametti said in an email that the ministry is aware of the decision and "will take the time to study it before commenting further."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal ... -1.6629396
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Quebec court ruling on police stops 'significant' in fight a

Postby Thomas » Sat Oct 29, 2022 9:55 am

Quebec court ruling on police stops 'significant' in fight against racial profiling, lawyers say

Province weighing an appeal of Superior Court decision

Lawyers fighting against racial profiling are applauding a Quebec Superior Court decision prohibiting police across the province from making motor vehicle stops without cause.

Although Judge Michel Yergeau said Tuesday that the decision won't eliminate racial profiling overnight, Quebec lawyers are highlighting the importance of suspending the practice, known as the roving random stop, in the battle to end discrimination.

"Racialized communities know that randomness was never actually part of it," said Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, executive director and general counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). "Their communities were disproportionately stopped over and over again."

"Our hope is that Quebec will lead the way and that other jurisdictions across Canada will make the same move … and eliminate the police power for arbitrary stops that have impacted racialized people," she said.

The ruling changes the law on traffic stops, but the new rules will only apply in six months.

Direct constitutional challenge

Laura Berger, a lawyer with the CCLA, called the ruling, which challenges a precedent set by the 1990 R. v. Ladouceur Supreme Court decision, the "most impactful and far-reaching racial profiling decision" she has seen in her career.

"We have certainly had decisions at all levels of court that recognize the existence of racial profiling," she said. "But this was a direct constitutional challenge of a police power that has existed under common law and under the [Highway Safety Code] in Quebec."

Citing sources on the existence of racial profiling not only in the Quebec but also across the country, Yergeau's ruling underlines that the police practice violates Sections 7, 9 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The first two provisions concern individuals' rights when interacting with the criminal justice system, and Section 15 addresses an individual's rights to equality and equal treatment under the law.

"It is extremely significant that the judge has recognized that all three of those provisions are violated," she said.

Decision raises safety concerns

Pierre Brochet, president of the Quebec police chiefs' association (ADPQ), said Wednesday in a statement that the ruling raised issues of "great concern."

"The purpose of Section 636 of the Highway Safety Code is to protect road users by ensuring that drivers and vehicles follow the law and established standards," he said. "Therefore, this ruling will certainly have societal repercussions on road safety."

Nada Boumeftah, a criminal lawyer and president of the Saint-Michel legal clinic, says the decision might go to the Quebec Court of Appeal, but she hopes this ruling will not be perceived as a "defeat" for police.

"People shouldn't think 'police don't have power, and it's the end of respecting the law," she said Wednesday in an interview with Radio-Canada's Tout un matin. "When we're talking about 10 per cent of the population that gets stopped four to five times more, it becomes very questionable, and it has not reduced the crime rate."

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said at a news conference Wednesday the ruling aligns with the city of Montreal's values, including those of the Montreal police service.

"This judgment says very clear and loud there is no place in our society for social or racial profiling," she said.

Premier Fançois Legault told reporters Wednesday that his government will assess the "long" ruling before deciding whether to appeal it.

"We are against racial profiling, but in certain areas of Montreal we need the police to continue to do their job on a random basis," he said. "It's not about racial profiling, but it's about making sure that we stop this violence in Montreal. It's about safety."

However, Mendelsohn Aviv, of the CCLA, notes that the court ruling applies only to arbitrary stops without cause.

"The court did not rule on other kinds of checkpoints and other kinds of police powers that will be available to protect the safety of everybody on the roads," she said.

Attempts to reform interventions

The police chiefs association says it is "very aware" of racial profiling issues and that several initiatives have been put in place to address them.

In December 2020, Quebec's anti-racism task force released a report calling for the end of random police stops without cause, but its recommendations are not legally binding.

The report suggests that police carry out stops based on "observable facts."

"When not based on reasonable suspicion, police interventions may be perceived as harassment and a form of racism," the document reads.

In response to the report, Geneviève Guilbault, then Quebec minister of public security, tabled a bill in December 2021 which would have allowed the ministry to establish guidelines for police that "may relate in particular to the absence of discrimination in police activities."

But the bill was not reviewed before the National Assembly dissolved for the provincial election.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal ... -1.6630405
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Re: Police can't pull over a driver without cause, Quebec Su

Postby Thomas » Sat Oct 29, 2022 9:57 am

Civil rights lawyers hope rest of Canada will follow Quebec in ending random police stops

Police officers in Quebec no longer have the power to randomly pull over drivers after a landmark court ruling on Tuesday that civil rights lawyers hope will have an impact across the country.

In what the Canadian Civil Liberties Association calls a "significant victory" against racial profiling, the Quebec Superior Court invalidated arbitrary police traffic stops following a constitutional challenge by Joseph-Christopher Luamba.

Luamba, a 22-year-old Montreal resident who is Black, launched the legal challenge after he said he had been stopped by police nearly a dozen times without reason. None of the stops resulted in a ticket.

The CCLA intervened in the case on his behalf and successfully argued in court that the police power violated his rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and allowed for racial profiling within policing.

"This is a significant victory against racial profiling for many people: Black, Indigenous and other racialized people who have been disproportionately stopped by police for decades," said Gillian Moore, director of the equality program with the CCLA, on Wednesday.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Michel Yergeau wrote in his 170-page decision that racial profiling does exist and weighs heavily on Black people in particular. It was time, he wrote, for the court to render the police power obsolete as well as the section in Quebec's Highway Safety Code that allowed it to continue. In doing so, Yergeau overturned a 32-year-old precedent.

While the ruling only applies in Quebec, "our hope is that Quebec will lead the way," said Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, executive director and general counsel of the CCLA.

"That other jurisdictions across Canada will make the same move, hopefully without needing a challenge, and will eliminate the police power for arbitrary stops that impacted racialized people."

Police chiefs in other jurisdictions can, if they want, instruct their officers to stop randomly pulling drivers over in light of the court ruling, even if the law was only invalidated in Quebec, Mendelsohn Aviv said.

"It's certainly the most important decision on racial profiling during my career as a lawyer," said the CCLA's Laura Berger. "It will certainly have an impact not only in Quebec but will also have an influence, I hope, outside of Quebec."


Police forces are given a grace period of six months before the power to randomly stop motorists will be officially taken away. The association representing police chiefs in Quebec said it is concerned about what the ruling will mean for road safety.

Didier Deramond, director general of the Association des directeurs de police du Québec, said there are "societal costs" to officers losing that policing power on the streets, including the fight against impaired driving. He said with the legalization of cannabis, police are seeing more people driving impaired and new rules.

"There's at least one person dying per day in Quebec on our roads. So many more with major injuries … Taking out the power that's been given to us by the common law will have some consequences," he said.

"For all the other people that are driving impaired, the prevention piece of it will not be there. So there are consequences that I don't know many more injuries, but it will be an increase."

Quebec Premier François Legault told reporters Wednesday he needs to review the judgement more closely, but said his government stands against racial profiling.

"When we talk about traffic stops, we have to let the police do their jobs when we see the violence in Montreal, in certain neighbourhoods. I have full confidence in our police and it's important to support them," he said.

Reacting to the ruling on Wednesday, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said it sends a message that is "very clear and loud that there's no place in our society for any types of social or racial profiling."

"To me, it goes with the values of the City of Montreal and with all of our partners, SPVM included, and other partners as well," she said.


Justice Yergeau did not mince words in his ruling on Tuesday.

"As a society, we cannot wait for a part of the population to continue to suffer in silence in the hope that a rule of law will finally receive from the police services an application that respects the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Charter," Yergeau wrote.

"Racial profiling does exist. It is not a laboratory-constructed abstraction ... It is a reality that weighs heavily on Black communities. It manifests itself in particular with Black drivers of motor vehicles."

His decision, however, was limited to racialized people's experience with random traffic stops and, he said, was not meant to serve as a broader inquiry into systemic racism.

The CCLA said Wednesday that a number of factors can influence an officer's decision to pull someone over, including systemic racism, unconscious biases, or even police quota systems.

"There are any number of reasons that can lead to these unnecessary, unjustifiable stops. So whether or not a decision addresses the broader picture, the role of the courts is to address the question that's before them and the answer here is absolutely clear: this police power is unconstitutional," Mendelsohn Aviv said.

https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/civil-right ... -1.6125940
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