A South Shore man claims to have been the victim of racial profiling by 10 police officers from the Longueuil Police Department, a force that has already faced accusations of systemic racism.
Turell Daye, 27, said he was illegally arrested by police early on the morning of September 14. He had taken the bus at 5:30 a.m. to meet a friend at his house so they could go to work together. He indicated that his friend’s house was a few steps from the bus stop, which was also near the Longueuil police station, on Curé-Poirier Boulevard.
Daye said he was wearing headphones but then heard noises behind him. He turned around and saw a group of police officers coming towards him.
“I immediately became terrified and screamed, ‘Wow, what’s happening?’ They grabbed me, rushed me in a group and threw me against the police car,” Daye said. “I was afraid for my life and I screamed, hoping to attract the attention of pa*sers-by…. They searched me, cutting my work bag off my shoulder while shouting “stop resisting” as they bent me over and twisted my arms to put handcuffs on me.
Daye says he kept asking officers why he was being arrested, but no one said anything to him. He was taken to the Longueuil police station and put in a cell by five police officers. He says they never arrested him. He spent at least two hours in the cell, but claims he was dismissed when asked if he could make a phone call.
He believes he was stopped by the police only because he is black. He said he heard police say they were investigating vandalism of police cars.
“I was left in a cell and ignored for two hours and I had no idea what was happening to me. I shouted in protest. I was told that I was not a priority for them and that I should just wait,” he said. “I was in a cell without being placed under arrest, read my rights, processed and at that point I still had no explanation as to why I was taken into the street on my way to work.”
Daye says when he was finally released later that morning, he was issued fines worth $747 for walking on a road, swearing at a police officer and spitting on the sidewalk. That’s more than he makes in a week as a furniture installer.
Daye said he returned to the station later that day with his father, asking him why he was arrested in the first place. He said police insisted on keeping his work bag full of tools as part of their investigation. Later that night, the police called him to tell him he could have the bag back.
Daye says he has not returned to work since the incident and has been traumatized and disturbed by what happened.
“It’s devastating. I had always hoped this wouldn’t happen. We are preparing them but we hope that it will not happen,” said his mother Francine Auclair. “He is traumatized. He is not sleeping. They literally kidnapped him and then brutalized him.
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The family turned to the Red Coalition for help. It is an advocacy and lobbying group that fights against racial injustice and racial profiling. The organization plans to file a complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal and the Police Ethics Commission in the coming weeks.
The Longueuil police service said in a statement to PKBNEWS that it could not comment directly on the matter.
“We are very sensitive and attentive to their concerns,” the statement said. “However, the file regarding the events remains under investigation. Several verifications and validations are still in progress. It is for this reason that we will not be able to comment.
The Longueuil police service has already faced accusations of racial profiling.
Joël DeBellefeuille, general director of the Red Coalition, said he had been arrested by police a dozen times in 15 years. Police followed him as he dropped his child off at daycare in 2012. For this reason, he received $12,000 in damages.
In 2020, the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal ordered the city to adopt a policy on racial profiling that included training officers and publishing race-based data on people stopped by police.
DeBellefeuille doesn’t believe much has changed.
“When will the police in this province understand that there are real repercussions, real victims facing irreversible damage that will scar them for life? he said.
Daye’s mother says she is disappointed by what happened to her son and concerned for his emotional well-being. She says she is devastated that racial profiling continues to happen.
“I don’t see any change, just not. It’s not just the police, it’s businesses, everything else,” she said. “I can guarantee you that if my son was white and walking down the street, this would not have happened. I’m almost willing to bet.
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