Canada moves to curb police racial profiling

Canad has moved to curb police racial profiling with critics denouncing the practice of 'street checks' targeting young black people.

Canada moves to curb police racial profiling

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Canadian province of Ontario moved Tuesday to curb carding -- where citizens are stopped, questioned and documented by police for no discernable reason other than skin color.

Known as “street checks”, critics say the practice targets younger people with darker skin and in fact the Toronto Star -- Canada’s largest newspaper -- conducted a year-long investigation of “police stop data” in Toronto and found black and brown males aged 15-24 were carded much more frequently than Caucasians. In other words, authorities were engaged in racial profiling.

The investigation showed that of more than 1 million citizens who were carded between 2008 and 2013, fewer than one in 10 were stopped based on police investigations of possible crime involvement. In other words, innocent people were carded, without probable cause.

In 2014, the Law Union of Ontario -- a coalition of more than 200 lawyers, law students and legal workers -- called carding “a systematic violation of the rights of people in our communities, and especially of radicalized youth [that] undermined the public’s trust and confidence in the [Toronto] police service and thereby impaired public safety".

And on June 11, Toronto resident Knia Singh launched a lawsuit against the Toronto Police Services Board and Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders over the “corrosive” practice of carding by city police. Singh, his lawyer Vilko Zbogar said, has been stopped and documented eight times, according to the Campaign to Stop Police Carding organization website.

The new regulations introduced Tuesday aim to set up standards for carding, not eliminate it.

“It would be wrong to suggest we’re banning carding,” a government official told the Star.

Community Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi announced he will hold consultations with community organizations, police departments, civil liberties groups and others this summer in a bid to solicit ideas on regulating carding and how to curb its abuse by authorities.

"The status quo in these cases is not acceptable and cannot continue," Naqvi said at the press conference. "Street checks is one of those fundamental issues that requires a single clear standard throughout all the province."

He said the new regulations should be ready by fall.

Police argue that carding is a necessary investigative instrument, allowing them to search databases for possible crimes committed by and warrants issued for individuals.

The practice of carding is currently under suspension in Toronto.

Last Mod: 17 Haziran 2015, 12:02
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