Racial profiling cases against Montreal police face long delays
Center for Research-Action on Race Relations says Quebec's human rights commission needs to act quicker
The Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission is facing calls to explain why racial profiling complaints against Montreal police are taking up to seven years to be addressed.
The Montreal-based Center for Research-Action on Race Relations, or CRARR, has compiled a list of complaints going back to 2009 that still haven't been addressed.
Those delays can lead to some complaints being thrown out, said CRARR's executive director, Fo Niemi.
Teen left bloodied
Victor Whyte was 15 when he says police left him bloodied after accusing him of getting on a city bus without paying.
He said he was eating at McDonald's with some friends and the group was being a bit loud. The manager called police, who arrived soon after and told the teens to leave.
The officers ordered them to board a city bus and Whyte was the last to get on. That's when he said an officer grabbed him.
"Police yanked me off the bus. Ripped my shirt. I had two earrings and one ripped out. I had blood all over my shirt," Whyte told CBC News.
Police told him he hadn't paid for the bus. Whyte said he had a bus pass.
Part of the incident was caught on video, which Whyte's mother said left her shaken.
"When I look at the video and see what the police have done to my child, I feel so sick. I feel so hurt. And I feel like they get away with it," Heather Whyte said.
Another complaint that's been in limbo for years came from Marcus Gordon in 2011.
He said he was jaywalking with a large crowd after a concert let out at the Metropolis concert hall on Ste-Catherine Street when police stopped him.
Gordon alleged police ignored the others who were jaywalking and went directly for him.
He said he also once had police surround his car and point a gun in his face before realizing he wasn't the person they were after.
Cases on hold for years
Niemi said he's seen cases drag on for up to eight years and criticized what he calls a "culture of delay" at Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission.
"Delays and whatnot, it's a form of license for these acts of racial profiling to continue," Niemi said.
The commission said it knows the processing time on some files is too long.
The organization said it intends to reduce delays before 2019.
The commission added that "there is no difference of treatment based on language, race, colour, ethnic or national origin. All complainants are treated equally."