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OHRC Report on Racial Profiling

janiecakes

TRIBE Member
from The Toronto Star today:

Terrible toll of racial profiling
Issue isn't limited to police, says commissioner
Stories reveal the prevalence of painful incidents


ROBERT BENZIE
QUEEN'S PARK BUREAU

Racial profiling in Ontario is a pervasive problem that robs citizens of their dignity, drains the economy and erodes trust in law enforcement, a new report concludes.

In an 81-page study, "Paying the Price: The Human Cost of Racial Profiling," Ontario Human Rights Commissioner Keith Norton yesterday warned that racist stereotyping is a grave concern in Canada's most ethnically diverse province.

Among the report's recommendations is the idea of placing video cameras in all police vehicles, a plan backed yesterday by Monte Kwinter, minister of community safety and correctional services.

Norton's emotionally charged report is based on submissions from more than 400 people who described the humiliation of being racially profiled, by everyone from police to waiters.

One story came from Andrea Berry, who spoke about being pulled over while driving along Bayview Ave. in an expensive-looking SUV. Berry, 48, co-owner of an advertising company, was driving her sister-in-law home when she saw the flashing police lights in her mirror.

"The officer checked the car, came back, said, `Do you realize this car is registered to a company?' At this point, I don't know why I was stopped. I'm just being scrutinized. I said, `Well, it's my company.'"

Another story came from a school teacher, who said being pulled aside and closely questioned while returning from a holiday in Jamaica made her "feel like a second-class citizen."

Norton's report features dozens of similar accounts of incidents in stores, restaurants, schools and other places, plus steps some people take to avoid the effects of racial profiling.

"I have a teenaged grandson who should be able to go out, visit his friends, and do the normal things that teenagers do," said one submission. "We don't allow him to. His mother chauffeurs him or I chauffeur him or his aunts chauffeur him or his uncle chauffeurs him."

Berry, who was 7 when she came to Canada, said that the traffic stop still stings.

"It's just fundamentally wrong and unfair. In our society, when somebody wrongs us, we have a recourse, we have the courts, we have the law. When that happens with an officer of the law, the arm of the law, what's our recourse? You have to swallow it."

Norton used uncompromising language in his report and in discussing it yesterday.

"Racial profiling is not just about traffic stops by the police," the commissioner told reporters at Queen's Park.

"It is a problem, and it's a problem that has to be addressed. We certainly will continue to take complaints, and if we see a situation which might justify a systemic investigation, the commission can initiate that as well. They ignore it at their peril.

"We cannot afford to allow racial profiling to be tolerated and practised in this province.

"There is ... an economic cost to society. We really do need to take some action," Norton said.

The provincial government heralded Norton's findings and vowed to tackle the problem.

Racial profiling is unacceptable, said Premier Dalton McGuinty, "and we are going to have to carefully consider the report that he is providing to us and look for ways to ensure that we guard against that."

Norton was dismissive of those who claim the practice does not exist. "The commission's position is that profiling does occur," he said.

The human-rights watchdog insisted he was "not specifically" referring to Toronto police Chief Julian Fantino with his criticism of those who deny the existence of racial profiling.

"There are others who have denied it exists. He speaks for himself, and you know what he's said."

Fantino denounced the "flawed" report during a news conference at which he was flanked by Halton Region police Chief Ean Algar.

"It was an abuse of the public policy the OHRC claims to represent," Fantino said in a statement.

"This inquiry was neither fair nor equitable and in every way discriminated against the fine men and women of the Toronto Police Service and every other police service across the province."

Norton acknowledged that his report "adopted a broad definition of profiling."

"We defined it as any action taken for reasons of safety, security or public protection that relies on stereotypes about race, colour, ethnicity, ancestry, religion or place of origin rather than on reasonable suspicion to single out an individual for greater scrutiny or different treatment."

Norton stressed that the 19 recommendations in the report should be considered by more than just police services.

"The recommendations are aimed at all organizations or institutions that may have a problem with racial profiling and include ... the education system, immigration and customs officials, staff in malls and stores and restaurants, taxi companies and airport and airline security," he said.

"I want to make a very clear distinction between racial profiling and criminal profiling. The commission is certainly not opposed to informed criminal profiling. The police can certainly legitimately stop people if they are pursuing a criminal profile."

Community safety minister Kwinter said he is already working on following up on some recommendations.

"We do believe that (racial profiling) exists, but ... we want to make sure that what we do solves the problem and isn't just talking about it," he said.

Kwinter noted that by February an experiment with cameras in police cruisers, one of the recommendations, would be underway.

"We've already approved a pilot project with the OPP. There's going to be 12 video cameras put into OPP vehicles in Kenora, dealing with native people, where there certainly is an issue of perceived profiling," the minister said.

"We're going to put 22 of them into the Toronto area, where again there is an area of perceived profiling. And we're going to have two for research and development," he said.

"The goal is to eventually get those into all police vehicles in Ontario."

Attorney-General Michael Bryant said racial profiling undermines the potential contributions of visible minorities.

"This report was very clear that no aspect of society is immune from the possibility of racial profiling. This affects a number of public safety providers ... and that affects our multicultural communities," Bryant said.

"Surely the first step is to take a zero-tolerance approach to racial profiling," he said.

But Conservative Leader Ernie Eves disputed the findings.

"I can't comment on what led Mr. Norton to his conclusions. Obviously, he has a different role to fulfill than that of, say, the chief of police in the city of Toronto," the former premier said.

Eves expressed concern over Norton's reliance on anecdotal evidence rather than statistical data.

"If you wanted to do a proper look at whether that is there or not, I think you'd want to get objective information, and lots of it — not just respond to whoever decided to launch a complaint," he said.

NDP Leader Howard Hampton, who was attorney-general in the government of former premier Bob Rae, said the previous Conservative government's cuts set back race relations.

"There was an anti-racism secretariat within the government. It had a very modest budget. Its job was very much as described by commissioner Norton," Hampton said.

"Its job was to ensure that, across the broader public service, that everyone was aware of racism, that people were taking steps to battle systemic racism," he said.

"There was an independent police complaints commission that had credibility. That was dismantled, too."

Norton's inquiry was sparked by widespread public debate following last year's award-winning Race and Crime series in the Star.

The Star obtained access to a police database that held records of more than 480,000 incidents in which a person was arrested or ticketed, and close to 800,000 criminal and other charges.

The newspaper's analysis of the data found, among other things, that black people charged with simple drug possession were taken to a police station more often than whites facing the same charge.


___________________________________________

You can read the report here:
http://www.ohrc.on.ca/english/consultations/racial-profiling-report.shtml
 

HMHA

TRIBE Member
i have no doubt that racial profiling takes place in toronto, but i also find some articles in the star to be too one sided. sometimes they, much like most media, skew the data in favour of the article.

i believe that the only way to stop racial profiling is to hire more minorities into the police force and/or hire a new chief that is a member of a minority group...
 

Lurch

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by janiecakes
[One story came from Andrea Berry, who spoke about being pulled over while driving along Bayview Ave. in an expensive-looking SUV. Berry, 48, co-owner of an advertising company, was driving her sister-in-law home when she saw the flashing police lights in her mirror.

"The officer checked the car, came back, said, `Do you realize this car is registered to a company?' At this point, I don't know why I was stopped. I'm just being scrutinized. I said, `Well, it's my company.'"

Another story came from a school teacher, who said being pulled aside and closely questioned while returning from a holiday in Jamaica made her "feel like a second-class citizen."
Is it just me or do these complaints seem....lame? I have had similar things happen to me and I am white as can be.
 

HMHA

TRIBE Member
i stand corrected...... i guess i'm just skeptical about reports in general.

what do you think should be done to prevent racial profiling?
 
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Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
racial profiling is disgusting. that is a given.

guys like fantino should stop arguing that there is no profiling going on, because they will never convince people of that.

he should be arguing that the police engage in OTHER types of profiling - like economic profiling, immigration profiling (and perhaps even religious profiling) - which are, arguably, different from, and easily confused with, racial profiling.

the argument in favour of economic profiling would be that poor neighbourhoods have more crime and thus require a higher police presence.

ditto for communities that may have a high concentration of immigrants that come from a more violent region.

******* i do not agree with economic/immigration/religious profiling. i am just putting forward some of the arguments that could be raised on the issue.
 

Vote Quimby

TRIBE Member
Re: Re: OHRC Report on Racial Profiling

Originally posted by Lurch
Is it just me or do these complaints seem....lame? I have had similar things happen to me and I am white as can be.
This is where stats are needed. A white person will not think anything of getting pulled over and will not complain. It then makes it look like only minorities are being pulled over for minor offences.

Somehow if the cops are forced to take stats or make an entry in a log, then we can actually compare numbers. Unfortunately, we have no idea what are the true numbers.

Maybe they do pull over a disproportionate number of minorities compared to whites, maybe they don't. The only true way to answer that question is with the use of detailed records.
 

HMHA

TRIBE Member
Re: Re: Re: OHRC Report on Racial Profiling

Originally posted by Vote Quimby
The only true way to answer that question is with the use of detailed records.
detailed, unbiased reporting... (good luck).
 

janiecakes

TRIBE Member
One of the commission's recommendations is to have videocameras in cop cars, which would allow them to count numbers.
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by HMHA
i have no doubt that racial profiling takes place in toronto, but i also find some articles in the star to be too one sided. sometimes they, much like most media, skew the data in favour of the article.

i believe that the only way to stop racial profiling is to hire more minorities into the police force and/or hire a new chief that is a member of a minority group...
I don't agree! I think that all this does is suggests that a white italian is less capable of understanding a vietnemiese man than a clack man from Jamaica. The two issues are actually unrelated, additionally there is nothing to suggest that Fantino is a racist in any way shape or form or that he has asked any member of the police force to ask in a racist manor.

I don't like him, I want him gone, but I don't want him gone on a totally false premice.



When I see two guys fighting and they are screaming in a language I don't know I call the police. When I see two people fighting and they are screaming in english "you asshole you didn't tell me you had no money for the beer" I walk away and don't call the police. It has nothing to do with race colour or language, its a reality that I don't understand what the first conflict is or how serious it should be treated where as the second one is a joke 99 times out of 100.

I assume that the same thing happens at schools. Additionally maybe more black people end up going to the police station because they don't carry ID with them. No ID and stopped on the side of the road with a joint is a much bigger problem than the same crime with ID. People assume the fault is with a specific entity or that the rules are jaded for or against a specific group.

I would argue that all trafic cops are sexist. Based purely on the fact that every time I've seen a woman cry when she got a speeding ticket she pretty much got to walk away. I argue that parkin enforcement is racially motivated against white people. They only create no parking zones in areas popular with white people and they selectively enforce...

The argument is silly
 
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Klubmasta Will

TRIBE Member
******* i should also clarify that there are different KINDS of profiling. the state should NEVER EVER EVER use any kind of profiling as an excuse to infringe upon anyone's constitutional rights and freedoms.

that is a no-brainer.

the more difficult question is whether the state should be allowed to use profiling in their investigations or in determining police presence in particular areas. this can be done without infringing upon charter rights.
 

Vote Quimby

TRIBE Member
Re: Re: Re: Re: OHRC Report on Racial Profiling

Originally posted by HMHA
detailed, unbiased reporting... (good luck).
Yeah, that would be the flaw in using stats. It still relies on the cop for entry. And teh cameras may not help here as the driver may not be visible from the cruiser camera.
 

Evil Dynovac

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by janiecakes
One of the commission's recommendations is to have videocameras in cop cars, which would allow them to count numbers.
An interesting idea, but who would collect the video images? Who would review them?

None of us want to live in a Big Brother society but we would be forcing our police to live in just that type of world.

I would forsee untold resentment.
 

Vote Quimby

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Evil Dynovac
An interesting idea, but who would collect the video images? Who would review them?

None of us want to live in a Big Brother society but we would be forcing our police to live in just that type of world.

I would forsee untold resentment.
They're used in the US, but more for filming drunk drivers and any altercations between cops and civillians...in view of the camera.
 
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Evil Dynovac

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Vote Quimby
They're used in the US, but more for filming drunk drivers and any altercations between cops and civillians...in view of the camera.
Ah yes! The camera is pointing outward however. It's primary focus is to watch police 'in action.' It serves to prove the police are doing their job well and to provide evidence should a suspect bolt, attack, etc.

This would be a camera facing in, no? It would record the police between their 'in action' activity. I think it would be far more invasive.
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Klubmasta Will

the more difficult question is whether the state should be allowed to use profiling in their investigations or in determining police presence in particular areas. this can be done without infringing upon charter rights.
How about using racial profiling to determine the racial makeup of a governments cabinet. Or how about using racial factors when hiring for government positions. How about racial profiling when determining extra ciricular activities for schools, or racial profiling when you decide what your day cares menu is going to be.

Almost anything can be called racial profiling, its to vague of a concept to be of any great validity.
 

Lurch

TRIBE Member
There are thousands of people each year that protest for hours on end about these types of situations. What they should do is form an allaince with the province and volunteer their time as "ride along" stats counters. You would have an unbiased stats person that is now actually making a difference rather then standing on a street corner with home made sign.
 

Littlest Hobo

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Evil Dynovac
I would forsee untold resentment.
I can see camera's being installed in civiilian cars, for the purpose of refuting police officers when it comes to tickets. Getting a traffic ticket is no longer $100 thankyouverymuch; with insurance concerns, it can run into the thousands of $$$, and can screw up your employment. Cops don't get tickets, so this may even the playing field.
 
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Evil Dynovac

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by janiecakes
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services could collect and review the video images.
And what government agency watches you at work every minute of the day?

I'm being a bit of a devil's advocate, and in truth I think there should be more police surveilance, but doing so with only isolate them further. We want our police to be apart of our society but programs like constant video taping will only separate them further.
 

janiecakes

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Evil Dynovac
This would be a camera facing in, no? It would record the police between their 'in action' activity. I think it would be far more invasive.
I would think it would be facing out, to capture the race of the person being stopped?

Quimby - how come the Attorney General?
 

Vote Quimby

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Evil Dynovac


This would be a camera facing in, no? It would record the police between their 'in action' activity. I think it would be far more invasive.
A camera facing into the pulled over car? That would never happen. That is way to invasive.

Their only option is for the dash mounted camera like in the US.
 

HMHA

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Ditto Much
I don't agree! I think that all this does is suggests that a white italian is less capable of understanding a vietnemiese man than a clack man from Jamaica. The two issues are actually unrelated, additionally there is nothing to suggest that Fantino is a racist in any way shape or form or that he has asked any member of the police force to ask in a racist manor.
i was thinking more along the lines that a police force that had members from every ethnic community would learn from each other (cops learning from cops) and would therefore gain a greater understanding of each culture. this might help to dispel biases that individual cops might have towards one or more groups and could perhaps lead to more tolerance and better policing.

do you have a better suggestion?
 

janiecakes

TRIBE Member
Originally posted by Evil Dynovac
And what government agency watches you at work every minute of the day?
I'm monitored quite a bit at my place of work actually. Although not with videocameras.

But if there were a broad perception of racial profiling where I work and they wanted to start videotaping our interaction with clients to collect stats on how people of different races are treated, I would have no problem with that.
 
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