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Montréal, October 31, 2018 — After four years of being repeatedly subjected to racial harassment and profiling by the police in Repentigny, a young Black man and his family have decided to file complaints against more than 15 police officers of that municipality.

Stanley Jossirain, 22, was intercepted at least seven times by Repentigny police officers over a period of 5 months, between March 18 and August 15, 2018. The grounds of these interceptions range from insulting a police officer to failure to turn on his flashing light and to stop his car without delay when ordered to do so by a peace officer. Today, he has more than $1,500 in fines and towing fees to pay.

In an incident last March, which is presently being investigated by the Police Ethics Commissioner, two police officers pointed their firearms at him and his Black friend without justification and any provocation on Jossirain’s part. One of the two officers told him during detention, “At least, he won’t die of gunshot, or end up in prison being [f-k] by another Black guy” (our translation).

Last May, several police officers arrived at a local Tim Horton’s where a dozen of white youths were gathering, in response to a complaint of cannabis use. Yet the officers only searched Jossirain and his Black cousin, who did not smoke anything.

Last August, he was followed by a police car while driving home from the local shopping center. Once he arrived home, he ended with a $484 ticket for presumably not stopping his car when so asked, and a ticket of $149 for presumably insulting a police officer.

“I feel tracked and persecuted for the last two years by Repentigny police officers,” Jossirain said. “It’s clear that the officers invented all kinds of pretext to harass and criminalize me. I’m not the only Black man who was treated like that in Repentigny. I feel like being in a small town in Mississippi or Alabama during the 1950s,” he added.

“I know Black families who don’t feel safe here anymore,” his mother, Monique Jean-Louis said. “All Black families who want to live in Repentigny should watch out: your young sons, your fathers and your husbands will be exposed to racially discriminatory conduct by many police officers,” she added.

Jossirain has obtained CRARR’s help to file police ethics and civil rights complaint against more than 15 police officers who were involved in 7 incidents in recent months. Approximately 12% of Repentigny’s police officers will be named as respondents.

According to Alain Babineau, a CRARR counselor and a retired RCMP officer, the recurrent nature of the incidents provoked by different officers could reveal a pattern of systemic racial profiling within the department.

« We see in many officers’ conduct a pattern that will not only betray serious deficiencies in terms of police professionalism and respect for the law, but also racial bias towards Stanley, his brother and his friends because they’re Black,” Babineau added.

CRARR intends to ask the Police Ethics Commissioner not to treat their complaints individually and in an isolated manner, but that he should apply a systemic analysis that takes into account the global context of police-Black interaction in Repentigny.

CRARR will also ask the Commissioner to address the personal responsibility of Repentigny police chief in her capacity as manager of a department whose officers engage in abusive and discriminatory conduct towards Black residents.

“Systemic racial profiling require systemic solutions, and we encourage the Commission to adopt a new approach that hold police directors professionally and ethically responsible for racial profiling carried out by their officers,” said CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi.

“It is not legally, socially and morally normal and acceptable that in 2018, young Black men and their families in Repentigny are regularly harassed and profiled by police officers as citizens who are inferior and having no rights simply because of their skin color,” Niemi noted.