Call for those who may be victims
Dan Philip, head of the Black Coalition of Quebec, says he is done with the letter writing.
Now he intends to see the City of Montreal, the government of Quebec and the Montreal police in court. That’s why he is launching a class action suit on racial profiling against the two levels of government and the City’s police service.
“We can continue to write until ‘thy kingdom come’ but nothing is going to change,” he says. “So we have to hold those in authority accountable… that’s what we intend to do with this class action lawsuit.
He is calling on individuals and families who have been targeted by police because of their race to register to be part of this collective court action.
He says it will be up to the courts to decide, but he thinks that the suit stands a chance at being successful, and adds that only those who are involved in the suit will share in the compensation if the judge deems it necessary to award money to victims.
Philip says when in 2006, Quebec’s Public Security minister Jacques Dupuis announced that he was setting up the Eclipse Squad within the Montreal police department, the intention then was to target street gang activity, drug trafficking and cybercrime by having this additional team of 66 officers assist patrol units in the subway system and streets.
Some in the city’s business community welcomed the move, but Philip says during that period there was a definite increase in the number of complaints of police abuse among people in poorer neighborhoods and some minority groups.
He says his collective action is intended to be a stand against many years of unjustifiable acts of brutality against Blacks and other cultural groups in Montreal.
“We remember incidents where there were blatant violations of people’s rights, even in their homes, and we’re hoping that these people will come out and put forward their cases and help us make a stand. We’ve been suffering too long.”
He says he has a team of lawyers in place ready to move the lawsuit forward as quickly as possible.
Philip is also calling on other leaders of community groups to alert their members of the class action suit and encourage them to get involved if they have been victims of racial profiling.
He says an information meeting will be held at 5201 Decarie Blvd. on Tuesday, February 28, at 5:30 p.m. All are invited to present their complaints. Info: 514-489-3830.