JOEL DEBELLEFEUILLE ONCE AGAIN STOPPED AND FINED FOR “DRIVING WHILE BLACK” BY LONGUEUIL POLICE
Montreal, October 28, 2015 — Joel Debellefeuille, a Black man who lives on the South shore and drives a BMW, experienced his third “Driving While Black” incident with the Longueuil police last week.
On Friday, October 23, at approximately 9.30pm, Mr. Debellefeuille drove into the entrance of the Longueuil hotel where he was staying with his family. A police car was was parked in front of the hotel. As he turned into the hotel, Mr. Debellefeuille noticed the police officer, illuminated by his headlights, straining to see him.
Mr. Debellefeuille parked and began walking towards his hotel room. Behind him, two officers exited the police car and and approached. They told Mr. Debellefeuille they had seen him driving without a seatbelt. Mr. Debellefeuille went to get his wife and a friend to witness the interaction. He insists that he was wearing his seatbelt, which he always does. Moreover, it would have been difficult for the officers to see into Mr. Debellefeuille's vehicle because it has tinted windows.
Nevertheless, the officers gave him a ticket. A few hours later Mr. Debellefeuille noticed the ticket carried a fine of $126 and 3 demerit points. The penalty was for driving a vehicle with a passenger under the age of 16 not wearing a seatbelt correctly. There was, however, no passenger with Mr. Debellefeuille at the time of the incident.
On Monday, October 26, Mr. Debellefeuille went to the Longueuil courthouse where he learned there was a second ticket in the computer system related to the October 23 incident. This ticket is also for $126 and also carries 3 demerit points. It is for driving without a seatbelt. Although he has not received the second ticket, Mr. Debellefeuille will contest both tickets.
CRARR will file a complaint to the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission on behalf of Mr. Debellefeuille.
“If the City was truly committed to preventing racial discrimination, this kind of incident wouldn't happen over and over again,” said Mr. Debellefeuille.
Mr. Debellefeuille's first “Driving While Black” incident occurred 2009. Two Longueuil police officers stopped him when because they did not believe a Black man could have a name like his. He fought the case until he won in 2012, resulting in the officers being found responsible for racial profiling, and the Longueuil Municipal Court rendering a comprehensive, precedent-setting decision on racial profiling.
Mr. Bellefeuille's second “Driving While Black” incident occurred in March 2012. Two Longueuil police officers trailed Mr. Bellefeuille for eleven blocks and stopped him while he drove his son to daycare. The Police Ethics Commissioner has cited the two officers before the Police Ethics Committee for racial discrimination/profiling. The case will be heard in 2016.