TORONTO, April 16, 2003 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) today applauded the Ontario Court of Appeal on the heels of a historic judgment validating the existence of racial profiling by police. The CRRF welcomed yesterday's decision by the Ontario Court to grant a new trial to former Toronto Raptors basketball player, Dee Brown, emphasizing that the groundbreaking ruling paves the way to more serious 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," said Patrick Case, Chair of the CRRF. "It's now time to move beyond the debate of whether racial profiling exists and speak frankly of real and constructive solutions to be implemented."
The CRRF also commended the Ontario Court of Appeal for being a leader in judicially recognizing that some police officers subconsciously target Black people as being more likely involved in criminal activity. By granting a new trial to Mr. Brown, whose case centres on being stopped on Nov.1, 1999 for being a black male driving an expensive car, the Court is demonstrating how racial profiling is a real issue that must be effectively addressed.
"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 Mr. Case. "These solutions must be developed in partnership and give credence to the real-life incidents of racial profiling experienced by a disproportionate number of members of the community."
Last October, the Hon. Lincoln Alexander, the CRRF's former Chair, initiated a summit on Policing, Race Relations and Racial Profiling in the wake of a series of reports in the Toronto Star outlining data corroborating differential treatment by Toronto Police of the city's Black community. With the assistance of the CRRF, Mr. Alexander convened key decision makers and police leadership in two closed-door meetings on racial profiling and police practices. Under the leadership of its new Chair, Patrick Case, the CRRF will continue to monitor progress and work with all summit participants and with other groups within the community to improve police/community relations.