Native American Press / Ojibwe News

April 18, 2003
Racial profiling ruling positive step says Canadian Race Relations Foundation

Canadian Press

TORONTO (CP) - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is applauding an Ontario Court of Appeal decision that ruled racial profiling exists in Toronto's police force, saying it sets the stage for discussions on how "to end racial profiling and racial discrimination altogether."

"This is a message loud and clear from the province's highest court that racial profiling can not be discounted as a factor in police practices," foundation chairman Patrick Case said in a release Thursday.

"It is now time to move beyond the debate of whether racial profiling exists and speak frankly of real and constructive solutions to be implemented."

The court ordered a new trial Wednesday for former Toronto Raptors basketball star Dee Brown, who maintains that he was pulled over in 1999 simply for being a black man driving a fancy car.

A 3-0 court majority said Ontario Court Judge David Fairgrieve had sufficient evidence to find that racial profiling was at play in Brown's arrest and that Fairgrieve had a negative view of the defence raising the issue.

"This is a powerful incentive for us to come together as members of the community and determine ways in which accountability in the police force can be strengthened," said Case.

Brown, now 34, was convicted in July 2000 of drunk driving by Fairgrieve, but Superior Court Justice Brian Trafford quashed that conviction and ordered a new trial last year. The Crown appealed.

Brown admitted he consumed a few drinks, court heard.

The decision drew criticism Wednesday from Toronto Police union leader Craig Bromell, who said it will force officers to boycott pulling over minorities to protect themselves against profiling allegations.

But Police Chief Julian Fantino said he was confident his officers "carry out their duties fairly, professionally and ethically" despite the decision and Bromell's boycott call.

"Racial profiling is totally unacceptable, repugnant and inappropriate. There is no systemic racial profiling on our force."



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