Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Crown Attorney files racial profiling human rights complaint against Toronto police officers

A Toronto Crown Attorney with the "Guns and Gangs" project has filed a human rights complaint against the Toronto Police Service and a number of its officers. Roger Shallow alleges that he was unlawfully arrested and strip searched following a confrontation with two police officers in Toronto's Entertainment District. As he put it in his complaint, "the unspoken message to me was: lawyer, Crown, or whatever, you're still just a black guy so know your place boy." The charges of causing a disturbance and assault resist arrest against Shallow were withdrawn by an independent prosecutor brought in from London, Ontario. In an extraordinary move, the Toronto Police Association has filed a complaint with the Law Society of Upper Canada concerning the decision of Jeanine LeRoy, a London defence lawyer, to withdraw the charges. One of the officers involved in Shallow's arrest is currently facing possible dismissal from the force following her conviction for impaired driving.

There are a number of racial profiling complaints pending before the Ontario Human Rights Commission. In a 2007 decision (Nassiah v. Peel Regional Police Services Board), the Tribunal found that a Peel Regional police officer had engaged in a discriminatory investigation following a shoplifting complaint because Ms. Nassiah was Black. The Tribunal ordered Peel to pay Ms. Nassiah $20,000 and ordered the Service to take systemic steps to address racial profiling.

Posted by Professor Tanovich

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