RACIAL PROFILING AND POLICE BRUTALITY: THE CITY OF MONTREAL MUST PAY $69,000 TO A CONGOLESE FAMILY
Montreal, November 19, 2014 --- The City of Montreal and its Police Service must pay $69,000 in damages to a Montrealer of Congolese background, his wife and his son who were subjected by two officers to racial profiling, excessive force and other illegal and abusive practices.
This is a decision of the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission, which was issued in April 2004, after investigating a complaint filed by CRARR in 2007 on behalf of the family subsequent to a violent police intervention at its business in front of the Frontenac metro station. After being stopped and fined while driving his son to a sports activity, Mr. Jean-Paul Ounabakidi was brutally arrested, beaten and pepper sprayed in front of his wife and children, and was eventually charged with six counts, including assaulting a police officer and obstruction. He was later acquitted in criminal court.
The case took seven years for the Human Rights Commission to issue its decision, since a parallel complaint was also filed by Mr. Ounabakidi with the Police Ethics Commissioner, which after investigation cited the two officers involved before the Police Ethics Committee. After being sanctioned by the Committee through the imposition of days of suspension without pay, the officers appealed the decision to a higher court and eventually received a slight reduced sanction.
As it has done in the past, the City refused to head the Human Rights Commission's decision. The case is now before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal.
This is the third CRARR-assisted racial profiling case that has been filed before the Human Rights Tribunal this year. The City of Montreal is being sued for a total of $124,000 in moral and punitive damages, plus interest.
More information to come.