Judge throws out "driving while black" case
In what human rights activists are calling a landmark ruling, a south shore man has been cleared of the ticket he got in a case of "driving while black."
Brossard resident Joel Debellefeuille says he can't forget the day he was pulled over by two Longueuil police officers back in July 2009. On that day while driving with his wife and kids in his BMW in Greenfield Park, two officers pulled Debellefeuille over because they thought it was odd that a black man was driving a car registered to someone with a Québecois family name.
They asked Debellefeuille for his I.D. and when he refused, they handed him a $523 ticket.
"I was in shock," he says, "My heart was racing."
In his ruling, the judge says Debellefeuille was the victim of racial profiling and his rights were violated. He also writes how it is ignorant of modern Quebec society to think people of different origins can't have a Québecois name.
Debellefeuille now hopes this ruling will serve as a lesson to police.
"Hopefully this will teach the police force to better educate their officers with regards to how they intercept cars and the reasons why they intercept the vehicles."