Police officers suspended without pay for racial profiling
The police ethics commission has ordered two Longueuil police officers accused of racial profiling to be suspended without pay for five days each.
The case dates back to July 2009, when Joël Debellefeuille was pulled over for the fourth time in a few days while driving a BMW in Longueuil, on Montreal's south shore.
When the officers asked to see his ID, an irked Debellefeuille refused. He ended up getting two tickets: one for failing to show identification and another for having expired car insurance.
The officers testified the main reason they stopped Debellefeuille after running a check on his licence plate was because they felt his name – which they considered Québécois – did not match his race.
The complaints commission has ruled that the officers did not have to stop Debellefeuille and that they lacked respect and courtesy.
Last September, municipal court Judge Pierre-Armand Tremblay blasted the officers for racial profiling.
"The fact of falsely or ignorantly believing that the family name "Debellefeuille" can't be the surname of someone with black skin can only show a flagrant lack of knowledge about Quebec society," he wrote in his decision.
The judge threw out the tickets issued by the two officers.
DeBellefeuille is also waiting to see the outcome of a provincial human rights complaint he filed in 2009. He is seeking $30,000 in damages over the incident.