Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montréal, June 28, 2020 — The Montreal Police Brotherhood must commit to taking concrete action against systemic racism within the Montreal Police Service (SPVM) in order to ensure better recognition of Black police officers within the organization, and better serve to the people of Montreal.

This is the main message delivered by CRARR today, in reaction to a letter signed by a group of nine Black SVPM officers and dated June 24, which circulates in certain circles. In this letter, the nine Black officers note that, according to a public statement by the Brotherhood’s President, Yves Francoeur, "our union does not have the same reading of reality as these so-called racialized members." Earlier this month, Francoeur said on the air that he did not believe there was a problem of systemic racism and racial profiling within the SPVM.

These Black police officers ask the police union to look into the problem of systemic racism, which the SPVM has already officially recognized, and "to listen” to its racialized members.”

Alain Babineau, CRARR Advisor on racial profiling and a retired RCMP Officer, says, "In the police,’the code of silence’ and the fear of reprisals have often forced racialized police officers to remain silent about their work conditions that are sometimes very difficult because of their skin color. ”

"Historically, Black police officers have often faced discriminatory treatment within the service on the one hand because they are Black, and on the other hand, they often face contempt on the part of citizens, even Black citizens, because they are police officers,” noted Babineau.

"Just like Commander Patrice Vilceus, the ‘SPVM 9’ demonstrated extraordinary courage and integrity by asking the president of the union, in writing, to act on systemic racism. A new strategy is needed on the part of the SPVM and the Brotherhood so that the voices of their racialized officers are respected,” said Babineau, to whom several racialized SPVM officers have confided in recent weeks.

"We encourage the Brotherhood to meet with its Black and racialized members, and to commit to taking measures to remove the barriers to an equitable representation of the racial and ethnic diversity of its membership within its structure, especially within its executive council and union leadership,” he concluded.

CRARR also encourages the SPVM, in its efforts against internal systemic racism, to put in place tangible measures to better support and enhance the value of Black and other minority police officers, including recognition activities (such as the official celebration of Black History Month), measures on employment equity in promotion to management and commanding positions, and procedures for effective protection against discrimination and racial harassment in employment.

Regarding this issue, CRARR has heard of the disappearance of the photo of the late Édouard Anglade, Montreal's first Black police officer, from the "Corridor of the Braves" at the SPVM headquarters.

“Sergeant Anglade has been recognized as a hero and a model of success by many Black police officers and by the Black communities of Montreal. The apparent removal of his photo is seen as a gesture of systemic devaluing of Black police officers’ contribution to the vitality of the SPVM,” explained Fo Niemi, CRARR Executive Director.

Since the 1990s, CRARR has supported Black police officers who have been victims of discrimination and harassment in their workplace. In 2000, it organized a major tribute event for Black police officers in Montreal, under the patronage of the President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE); in 2006, the President of NOBLE (who was also the Chief of the Atlanta Police Department) also visited CRARR at its seminar on developing police competency on diversity and equity.