Racial profiling trial begins into power of Quebec police to make random car stops

·1 min read

MONTREAL — A Black Montreal man and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association are in court today challenging the power of Quebec police to make random traffic stops outside of drunk driving checkpoints.

Joseph-Christopher Luamba is suing the Canadian and Quebec governments after he was stopped by police four times in the 14 months after he got his driver's licence. None of those stops resulted in charges.

Opening arguments in the case began today in a Montreal courtroom.

Lawyers for Luamba and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which has intervener status in the case, argued that the power of police to randomly stop drivers is unconstitutional and enables racial profiling.

Bruce W. Johnston, lawyer for the civil rights group, told the judge the facts and the jurisprudence have changed since the Supreme Court of Canada upheld that police power in a 1990 decision.

Government lawyers argued that the power to stop motorists is necessary to ensure road safety and that it's up to governments to work with police to fight racial profiling.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 30, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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