New trial ordered in Quebec racial profiling case
A Quebec Superior Court judge has ordered a new trial for a black man on Montreal's south shore who said he was the victim of racial profiling by police in Longueuil.
Joel Debellefeuille of Saint-Constant, Que., was in his BMW with his family when he was pulled over in July 2009.
The Longueuil police officer who stopped the vehicle asked for Debellefeuille's identification, but he refused to show it and ended up with a ticket.
While Debellefeuille was challenging that ticket in municipal court, he noticed comments in the police report suggesting he had been pulled over because of his race.
"The vehicle belongs to a certain Debellefeuille Joel," the police report read. "It was a black man who did not correspond at first sight to the owner. Debellefeuille sounds like a Quebecois family name and not of another origin."
The intercepting officer also wrote that the primary reason he stopped Debellefeuille was because of his race.
In his original trial, the municipal court judge said he could not interfere in police ethics matters and found Debellefeuille guilty.
Debellefeuille was asking for that verdict to be thrown out.
Instead, the Superior Court judge ordered a new trial and said the municipal judge should have taken racial profiling into consideration during the original trial.
A police ethics committee is investigating the officer's conduct.