Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montréal, August 29, 2019 — Being the target of numerous police stop-and-checks within the last two years, a Black father of four has finally decided to take legal action against Montreal police officers after yet again being unjustifiably stopped and forced to show identification.

The incident took place on Thursday July 4th, 2019 around 9 am when Wayne King and his wife, Anna, who was holding their 9-month old son in a baby carrier, were talking with their friend Kate on St Laurent St. close to Rachel St. Anna and Kate are white.

King noticed two white male police officers coming behind him. Their police car was parked nearby.

Speaking with an arrogant and rude tone, the first officer explained there was a complaint against King and asked to see his ID. He did not say what the complaint was. Surprised by the accusation, King told the police officers that he had done nothing wrong and that it was impossible there could have been a complaint against him.

Both officers then changed their story and said that the King fit the description of someone they were looking for. They did not give any description of that person. Feeling threatened by their hostile manners, and not wanting to aggravate the situation and be arrested in front of his wife, his baby and Kate, King handed them his driver’s license.

One of the officers took King’s ID back to the police car while the other asked Kate to stand aside and showed her the suspect’s picture. Kate later told King that the man in the photo shown looked nothing like him.

Upon getting his driver’s license back, King let both officers know that he was singled out and that they were harassing him. The two officers then left. The Victim’s detention and interrogation lasted about 15 to 20 minutes.

Immediately after the incident, the Victim and his wife, still carrying the baby, went to the police station on Rachel and Mentana. The couple was met with a white male officer who showed them the picture of the suspect.

When King and Anna saw the photo, both realized that this suspect did not look at all like the Victim: it was a Black man with a darker skin tone, a longer face, a longer beard and longer dreadlocks being pulled back and tied on his head. King was upset at the obvious lack of physical resemblance, which was clear to the naked eye.

“The fact that both officers could not tell apart two Black men who don’t look like each other raises serious questions about their competency and ability to work in a multiracial city like Montreal,” King said. “It also raises questions about their real motive. Whatever their reason to card me, I’m more concerned about what they entered in the police database about me,” he added.

“This is a typical case of “carding”, explained Alain Babineau, CRARR Advisor on Public Security & Racial Profiling and a former RCMP officer. “Carding” and street checks or “interpellations de routine”, are common police practices of asking individuals who they are and demanding proof of their identities for no legitimate reason and then recording and storing that information in a police database. They are an iteration of racial profiling which disproportionately affects Black and racialized communities”, Babineau added.

Carding has been denounced as being disproportionately used against Blacks and racialized people as well as a Charter violation, by Justice Michael H. Tulloch of Ontario, in his 2018 Report of the Independent Street Checks Review, and Toronto criminologist Scot Wortley in his 2019 Halifax Street Checks Report.

In 2010, the Charest report carried out by the SPVM following the Villanueva shooting revealed that the SPVM had a data bank containing 10,000 names of subjects suspected of being associated to Black “street gangs” in Montreal. An analysis of the data by Mathieu Charest further revealed that less than half of the individuals had any criminal connection whatsoever and highlighted the disproportionate number of ”interpellations de routines” of Black individuals by the SPVM.

In complaints to be filed for King before the Human Rights Commission and the Police Ethics Commissioner, CRARR will ask that “carding” as a practice be recognized and declared illegal and discriminatory. It will also raise “carding” at the upcoming public consultation on systemic racism and discrimination.