Representatives of the black community believe that Repentigny police have discriminated by issuing tickets totaling $ 11,500 to nine young blacks for breaking health rules by playing basketball, while young whites do not. received only a warning, the same evening, on the same site. They demand a meeting with the chief of police to discuss the issue of racial profiling.
“We cannot have one weight, two measures. What we are asking for is a police service that treats everyone the same, ”said Alain Babineau, of the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations, yesterday at a press briefing. ‘took place at the scene of this case.
The incident took place on May 22 at Parc de la Seigneurie. Shortly after 6 p.m., the police intervened with a group of young blacks who were playing basketball, while team sports were still not authorized by Quebec. Nine tickets were issued: seven over $ 1,500 for young people aged 18 and over and two of $ 500 for minors in the group.
One of the number was Nathan Dery, a 20-year-old college student. “It is not a question of money, but a question of profiling,” he denounced yesterday. The police told us that they were no longer giving warnings. ”
After reading an article on deconfinement, he claims to have misunderstood what was allowed and what was not. On this day, outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people were allowed for the first time. The practice of team sports was still prohibited. On the other hand, the practice of individual non-contact sports was allowed since May 20.
“We showed the policeman the article we had read. So we said to him: “Despite our misunderstanding, can we get a warning?” Him [le policier] didn’t want to hear anything… He said to us: “If you want, dispute, but I am giving you tickets today.” ”
An hour and a half later, young white people were arrested in the same situation. They were able to leave the park with a warning.
Alain Babineau, who is also a former RCMP officer, believes that at first glance, the Repentigny police officers have used their duty of discretion in a manner that appears discriminatory. “We need to have a serious conversation about systemic racism and discrimination within the Repentigny police force,” he said.
Police deny acting in a discriminatory manner
Called to react, the Police Department of the City of Repentigny defended its officers.
In May, 9 black citizens and 33 white citizens received tickets for violating health rules related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the municipal police force said. “Our interventions are not guided by the color of the skin, they are guided by the fact that people have collaborated or not”, underlined the deputy director of the police department, Lison Ostiguy, in interview with The Press.
She also points out that on May 22 at 5 p.m., the same two police officers gave three tickets to young people who were playing basketball in another park, but that they were white. In addition, these same two police officers had already warned “three or four” of the nine young blacks not to play basketball during a previous intervention on April 28.
She ends by indicating that it is different police officers who intervened with the group of young white people in the park of the Seigneurie approximately two hours later, around 8:20 pm The police officers “met the young people who had not been notified. not to play. The young people, cooperatives, have left, ”says Mme Ostiguy.
Alain Babineau says that young people are thinking of taking legal action in this case, before the Human Rights Commission or the Police Ethics Committee.