Founded in 1983 - United for Diversity and Racial Equality


Montreal, October 7, 2008--- The City of Montreal and two police officers have failed to comply with the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission's order dating from last July, requiring them to pay $60,000 to three Black citizens for racially discrimininatory conduct.

Ms. Gemma Raeburn, Mr. Peter Charles and Mr. Frederick Peters were each awarded $20,000 in moral and punitive damages by the Commission because the police officers made discriminatory statements based on race, color and ethnic or national origin while they were in a position of authority, and furthermore, during an armed intervention.

In 2004, Ms. Raeburn was cleaning her garage with her two friends when they were faced with police officers who responded to a neighbor's report of thieves wearing of something “black on their faces.” One officer told Ms. Raeburn in her garage that ”bullets don't see color” when she told another officer pointing a gun at her that he would not have “come with such force if it were white people cleaning the garage”, while another officer asked Mr. Peters in the backyard, “if you don't like it here, why are you here? Why don't you go back to your country?“ Both officers were already sanctioned in February 2007 by the Police Ethics Committee, for conduct contrary to the Quebec Police Code of Ethics (the decision has been appealed to the Court of

The Commission gave the City until August 22, 2008 to comply and pay the damages to the three Black Montrealers. As of October 1st, 2008, the City had not obeyed the order. Consequently, the Commission will have to bring the case to the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal, which should schedule to hear the case in early 2009.

“My friends and I are disappointed at the City's failure to live up to its commitment to racial equality and human rights. We are determined to go all the way,”said Ms. Raeburn, a senior banking manager and a prominent Black community leader.

“The City's legal actions and arguments before the courts reveal its real position on racism and anti-discrimination,” said CRARR's Executive Director Fo Niemi.

CRARR will participate in the litigation before the Tribunal as the case provides an opportunity to examine City officials' accountability in dealing with the racially biased conduct of their police employees. It assisted the three Black residents in their cases before the human rights commission and the police ethics commissioner. This is the fifth CRARR civil rights case on racially discriminatory policing or racial profiling that has been referred to the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal this year as a result of the City's non-compliance with the human rights commission's decisions.