Complaint alleges racial profiling and discrimination of Montreal police against Indigenous woman

Indigenous women are 11 times more likely to be stopped by SPVM than White women, says a report

Complaint alleges racial profiling and discrimination of Montreal police against Indigenous woman

The organization Quebec Native Women (QNW) has filed a complaint alleging systemic discrimination and racial profiling by the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM).

The complaint, filed with the Commission des droits de la personne et de la jeunesse du Québec, stems from an incident that occurred on May 3 at Cabot Square in Montreal, as reported by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.

That broadcast stated that 17 SPVM police officers, supported by a K-9 squad, were the first responders at the site at which an Indigenous woman, showing signs of psychological distress, waited for an ambulance so that she could receive emergency hospital care.

QNW, which represents the interests of Indigenous women, their families and communities throughout Quebec, strongly denounced the police intervention, which it called inappropriate and excessive.

“Is the extent of this intervention linked to the fact that it had to do with an Indigenous woman?” said Viviane Michel, president of QNW.

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL), alongside its Council of Elected Women, the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal and Resilience Montreal joined QNW in denouncing the incident.

A press release from the AFNQL cited a 2019 report examining SPVM data that found Indigenous and black people are four to five times more likely than whites to be stopped by the SPVM, while Indigenous women are 11 times more likely to be stopped than white women.

AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard said that the organization has called upon Minister of Public Security Geneviève Guilbault, Minister of Justice Sonia Lebel, and Montreal City Mayor Valérie Plante to explain how they intend to implement the recognized actions to address systemic discrimination.

These recognized actions include the Calls for Justice presented by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the Calls to Action presented by the Viens Commission, as well as the solutions proposed in various research studies, principles of reconciliation and international denunciations.

Chief Adrienne Jérôme from Lac Simon, spokesperson for the AFNQL’s Council of Elected Women, said that even with all these possible solutions and millions of dollars in investments, police abuses continue. “It is with the greatest outrage that we see another case too many,” said Jérôme.

“We will not give up and we will continue to show our determination to denounce all cases of racial profiling and police excesses,” said Michel.

Related stories

Free newsletter

The Canadian Legal Newswire is a FREE newsletter that keeps you up to date on news and analysis about the Canadian legal scene. A separate InHouse Edition is delivered on a regular basis, providing targeted news and information of interest to in-house counsel.

Please enter your email address below to subscribe.

Recent articles & video

Incoming: a COVID-19 employment law litigation wave

Online mediation provides opportunities for gender neutrality

Counterfeit products and websites on the rise amid COVID-19

Roundup of law firm resources on COVID-19: July 3 update

IBA urges governments to take immediate action to dismantle systemic discrimination among police

Canada makes judicial appointments in B.C. and Nova Scotia: Hugh Veenstra and Patrick Duncan

Most Read Articles

Uber’s arbitration clause in contract with Ontario drivers is unconscionable, SCC rules

Canada can – and should – facilitate release of the Two Michaels

Safety first! New Canadian cloud security guidance is issued

B.C. law society suspends lawyer for threatening public officer to get settlement sought by clients