The Quebec government will appeal a court ruling that found stopping drivers without cause is a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, according to Radio-Canada.
Quebec Superior Court Judge Michel Yergeau had ruled on Oct. 24 that police can no longer make motor vehicle stops without cause, saying it allowed police “a safe conduit for racial profiling against the Black community.”
He gave the province a six-month grace period before random stops were officially invalid.
The case was brought to the courts by Montrealer Joseph-Christopher Luamba, a 22-year-old Black man, who said he is consistently pulled over by police when in a car.
Community groups had asked the Quebec government not to appeal the decision, saying it would be a significant step to combat racial profiling.
But there were calls for an appeal from some in law enforcement, who argued the decision would hamper police work.
After the decision, Premier François Legault said his government would 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.
According to Radio-Canada sources, Public Security Minister François Bonnardel will formally announce they are appealing the decision Friday morning. The Minister Responsible for the Fight Against Racism, Christopher Skeete, will also be in attendance.
Sources tell Radio-Canada they will also announce new measures aimed at combatting racial profiling.
Max Stanley Bazin, the president of the Black Coalition of Quebec, said in an interview with Radio-Canada he was perplexed by the government’s appeal of the Yergeau decision.
In his opinion, the decision is solid.
“I don’t know what the government lawyers will say,” he said. “I don’t see how they could overturn the judgment.”
Bazin said he was also disappointed the government — which has maintained that there is no systemic racism in the province — was now outright challenging a decision that “contains facts, figures and reports that are proof that systemic racism exists in Quebec,” he said.
“When the government tells us they want to support the work of police who are doing good work, but factually we have evidence to the contrary, it’s disconcerting,” he said.
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