Bashir Mohamed (left) of Black Lives Matter Edmonton, Edmonton police Staff Sgt. Warren Driechel, and Rachelle Venne, (right) CEO of the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women.
Photo Credit: (CBC)

Edmonton confronting racial profiling by police

Share

Racist incidents and racial profiling accusations are piling up across Canada this month.

In Quebec, the scene of four young black athletes labouring at the task of moving a float in last weekend’s annual St. Jean Baptiste parade, while a white singer serenaded the spectators and a crowd of Caucasians dressed in white followed, struck many people as racist.

CBC News investigated and found people of colour are disproportionately targeted in street checks in Edmonton. © CBC News Graphics

Then, there is the recent experience of Malik Smith, a young black man near Montreal, dramatically arrested as he left his home and jailed for over nine hours following the report of a gunshot in the neighbourhood.

The gunshot turned out to be a hydro transformer blowing. When asked what he would say to the police officers, the young man responded to CBC Montreal saying, “You guys disgust me.”

In Edmonton, Alberta, this evening, members of the city’s chapter of Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the Institute For the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, are meeting with the province’s Justice Minister, Kathleen Ganly, to discuss their issues with the Edmonton Police Service.

Edmonton police have been racially profiling indigenous people, particularly indigenous women, and black citizens according to the statistics released to a CBC investigative team, and the city’s Black Lives Matter group.

“Within the black community, people have known that this has been happening”

The freedom of information requests (FOIPs) revealed that in 2016, First Nations women were almost 10 times as likely to be checked as white women. Indigenous men were six times more likely to be stopped than white people. Black people were nearly five times as likely to be stopped.

“It’s racial profiling; just full stop,” Bashir Mohamed, a member of Edmonton’s Black Lives Matter (BLM), told CBC News.

“Within the black community, people have known that this has been happening and the numbers just prove what we already suspected.”

Listen

“Street checks”, also known as “carding” in other Canadian cities, is the police practice of stopping people, on foot, or in their cars, to ask about their identity and then entering the information into a nation-wide data base.

Bashir Mohamed, also a member of the Somali community in Edmonton, says this can cause major problems for people in the future. The information is shared with both the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

He says for Permanent Residents, and perhaps those with dual citizenship, a name coming up at the border when returning to Canada, can cause problems. And he describes the situation of a law student in Toronto who requested a “police-ride-along” and was denied, because his name came up in the data base.

Mohamed says the issues are both a matter of privacy and human rights.

Black Lives Matter and the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women want the street checks banned and all the data collected, destroyed, by January 2018.

Rachelle Venne is the CEO of the Institute For the Advancement of Aboriginal Women. She says the statistics illustrate the reality that prejudice exists.

“Carding for no reason does not build relationships, rather the contrary,” Venne told CBC News. “It reinforces the attitude that Aboriginal women are not worthy of the human rights that most Canadians enjoy.”

Staff Sgt. Warren Driechel of the EPS told CBC News that street checks do not target people by race, and that police officers are trained to respect individuals’ rights and conduct the check appropriately.

He also said they don’t hold on to the information. “Responsibly, we would only keep this data for so long,” he said. “We don’t want to become prejudicial by reading the street check 10 years from now and saying that this person was involved in this lifestyle.”

When CBC requested a copy of the EPS street check policy via a freedom of information request, what they received was news to Bashir Mohamed.

The policy, for those being stopped for the first time in Edmonton is as follows:

“Members must be aware that the subject(s) is not obligated to provide any information during a street check, and may disengage with members at any time:” It continues to clarify that: “Members must be able to articulate this to the subject(s), and should be able to reinforce that the subject(s) is not under detention if questioned.”

With files from CBC

Share
Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Immigration & Refugees, Indigenous, Politics, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

One comment on “Edmonton confronting racial profiling by police
  1. Avatar Roedy Green says:

    BLM rudely crashed the Toronto Gay pride parade, and hijacked it for their purposes using extortion. Then they did the same thing to the jazz festival. Their cause is completely unrelated to either victim.
    They were as welcome as a hell’s angels biker gang. They have no right to do that. They should have all been jailed for a week. They seem to think that their interest trumps everyone elses. Let them hold their own parade or demo.