Judge not persuaded driver was racially profiled at Campbellton traffic stop

Judge not persuaded driver was racially profiled at Campbellton traffic stop

A judge in Campbellton has told Gordon Hum there was no evidence of racial profiling when he was pulled over and issued a ticket in August 2016.

Judge Suzanne Bernard said Hum was stopped and issued a ticket because he wasn't wearing a seatbelt, not because of the colour of his skin.

She also told him provincial court was not the place to deal with his complaint. 

Hum, a civil liberties advocate and former school principal, defended himself on the ticket Wednesday.

He asked Const. Stephane Dugas, the RCMP officer who stopped him, if he'd asked him what nationality he was. 

Dugas said he asked where Hum was from, not his nationality.

"I was pretty sure you were native, so asked if you're from Listuguj or Manitoba," said Dugas. 

Hum, whose is of Chinese heritage, continued his questions.

"You stopped me for seatbelt. Did you stop me as well because I'm a visible minority?" 

Dugas​'s response was no. He said he asked Hum where he was from only after Hum started the talk about skin colour and nationality.

The police officer said he had no regrets asking the questions he did. 

When Hum took the witness box, he admitted he wasn't wearing a seatbelt. But he told the judge the police officer didn't have the right to pick on him because of the colour of his skin. 

The judge warned him the trial was only dealing with the seatbelt infraction, nothing else. 

Hum was ordered to pay a fine of $172.50 even though the Crown asked for a higher fine for wasting the court's time. 

Hum lives in the northern city of Campbellton, which is near the Listuguj First Nation. He told CBC News earlier that he was disturbed by what the officer said when he was pulled over.

"He asked me about my background. He said, 'Are you a native person? Are you from Listuguj? What's your nationality?'"

Soon after the incident, Hum filed a complaint against the officer at the Campbellton RCMP detachment. He spoke with a sergeant and asked for an apology and more information about cultural sensitivity training provided to officers.

Campbellton RCMP told Hum his complaint about racial profiling was still under investigation.

The August 2016 traffic stop is the second alleged incident of racial profiling Hum has experienced.

In 1983, he was pulled over in Edmonton for outstanding parking tickets and speeding. The officer asked him if he was Canadian and where he was born.

Hum complained to the Human Rights Commission.

"This is Canada, this is what we are — a culture of diversity," he said in a previous interview with CBC News.