Longueuil 'driving while black' case headed to Human Rights Tribunal

A decision over the alleged racial profiling of south shore motorist Joel De Bellefeuille by Longueuil police will now go before the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal.

Last week, the Quebec Human Rights Commission recommended the city pay De Bellefeuille $12,000 over a 2012 incident involving Longueuil police. The city had until last Friday to respond to the recommendation.

On Thursday, the city handed the Commission a letter saying it disagreed with the racial profiling conclusion, insisting all of its police officers had undergone training on racial profiling over the past few years.

The Commission found in March 2012, two Longueuil police officers trailed DeBellefeuille's BMW for 11 blocks and asked for identification as he was driving to daycare with his family.

The officers told him it was a random traffic stop, but DeBellefeuille says those kinds of stops are common for him — he says he's repeatedly been targeted for driving while black.

On Sunday, Fo Niemi, the executive director of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), said the decision will now be referred to the Human Rights Tribunal.  De Bellefeuille and CRARR say a ruling in their favor would set a legal precedent against racial profiling by police.