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Black Montreal police officers angry over union president’s denial of systemic racism

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A group of nine black Montreal Police Officers have sent a letter to Yves Francoeur, the president of their union (the Montreal Police Brotherhood) in response to his continued and public denials of systemic racism and racial profiling existing within the force. In their letter, ‘Consternation at your media statements regarding systemic racism and racial profiling’, the dismayed officers wrote that they were surprised at the President’s comments made to the media, where he repeatedly denied racial profiling existed within the SPVM. In an interview with TVA he said, “I don’t think there is racism at the police-force level’ and on 98.5 FM radio with host Paul Arcand he said, “I don’t know any officers who stop someone just because they are Black.”

“We have noticed that our Brotherhood does not have the same read on reality as its racialized members,” the Officers stated. “We cannot blame you for not knowing our reality if the culture of silence is for us the most common of the options in several situations… it may be committed by a minority, but it discredits the entire organization… racism has not spared the SPVM.” They ask him recognize that the problems exist, as it would be the first step towards finding a solution.

In a report released earlier in June, by Montreal’s Office of Public Consultations, it recommended that changes needed to be made within the police force in order to deal with racial profiling. Mayor Plante acknowledged the report, saying the city has ‘neglected the fight against racism’ and ‘failed to recognize the systemic nature of discrimination’ and promised that the city would implement the report’s recommendations.

“Recognizing a problem is the first step toward a solution, we would like the Brotherhood to also look at the problem,” they Officers said and called on their union to do the same. To date, Francoeur has still not acknowledged that systemic racism exists within the police force. His stance is also in contradiction to Montreal police Chief Sylvain Caron, who said earlier this month that the police force itself acknowledged the existence of systemic racism and he was committed to eliminating racial profiling by his officers.

By: Bonnie Wurst – info@mtltimes.ca

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