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Montréal, August 21, 2018 — Six years after he filed civil rights and police ethics complaints against two Montreal Police officers for racial profiling and other illegal practices, Julian Menezes has reached a settlement with the City.

The settlement, concluded in June of this year, includes a payment of $25,000 with no admission of liability.

Menezes' well-publicized case started in May 2012 when he was abusively and violently arrested by two Montreal Police officers, Stéfanie Trudeau or “Agent 728”, and Constantinos Samaras, in the Plateau, during the students' demonstrations against tuition hikes in the spring of 2012.

While his two accompanying white female friends were unharmed, Menezes, who is a health professional of South Asian descent, was handcuffed and brutally pushed into the police car. Furthermore, he was the target of racial and homophobic slurs made by Trudeau (including being called a “F* Indian”) during the drive to the police station.

After a difficult ride during which the driver played at accelerating and stopping the car abruptly, causing his face to slam against the glass dividing the front and back of the police car, Menezes was finally released in the middle of the night with no money to get home in an unfamiliar area in the north end of town, far from the street where he had been arrested, and with injuries to his body. He was also fined $146 for “continuing to do an act” which the ticket failed to specify.

Menezes sought CRARR's help in filing a complaint with the Police Ethics Commissioner, and another complaint with the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission.

In January 2017, the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission upheld Menezes' civil rights complaint and recommended that the City of Montreal and the two officers involved pay him $40,000 in damages. It also requires the SPVM to update its action against racial and social profiling. Since the City refused to comply, as it usually does with the Commission's recommendations, the case was brought before the Human Rights Tribunal.

In October 2017, the Police Ethics Committee imposed two days of suspension without pay on Samaras, for failing to intervene to stop Trudeau's professional misconduct.

In April 2018, the Committee imposed on Trudeau, who retired in 2015, a period of 17 months of incapacity for police duties as a result of five charges of misconduct, including excessive force, lacking respect and politeness, failure to identify herself, negligently putting Menezes' health and safety at risk by not securing his seatbelt during the drive in the patrol car, and not using the patrol car with prudence and discernment by recklessly driving.

“I am happy that the case is over after six years of complaints, investigation, and litigation, and am proud to have stood up for my constitutional rights and done what I consider to be my civic duty as citizen,” Menezes said.

“However, while I am pleased with the financial settlement, I am still unhappy and concerned with the fact that several systemic remedies have been left unresolved,” he added.

“My overriding concern is that we have not succeeded in getting the City to agree to a firm commitment to implement specific systemic measures on racial profiling, which it adopted last year, with a clear timetable, public participation, and an external evaluation of outcomes,” Menezes said.

In June 2017, two City Council committees held a public consultation on racial and social profiling, which produced 31 recommendations. These recommendations were submitted to City Council in September 2017. Since then, there is no news regarding their status.

According to Menezes and Al Babineau, a former police officer and law intern at CRARR, three top systemic issues need to be addressed by the City:

1) Detection, monitoring and sanction regarding dangerous, abusive police behaviors and attitudes: officers who are known to be openly or regularly engaging in such behaviors (last May's violent arrest of the biracial Mann-Jacques couple in the Plateau serves as a reminder) should be suspended over a longer period or fired;
2) Higher standards of accountability: police managers should be held accountable for systemic tolerance of officers known to be regularly engaging in violent and racist conduct, and this must start with the Police Chief; and
3) The Starlight Tour: As the recent case of Mina Iquasiak Aculiak, the Inuk woman who was given a bus ticket and released from a police station at midnight miles from her rehabilitation center, and who was missing for nearly a week, has shown, releasing vulnerable people in the dead of night, in an area they do not know, is a physically and psychologically harmful practice that must be banned.

“The City should also publish an annual report on all lawsuits and complaints of racism and other discrimination against the City in general and its police service in particular, and the total costs of these lawsuits,” said CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi.

“My case calls for urgent reforms to policing in Montreal where racial profiling is concerned. It's almost September 2018, and there is still no action plan against racial profiling,” Menezes stated.