Judge throws out "driving while black" case

Posted By: Laura Casella · 9/27/2012 1:10:00 PM

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."

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  1. Richard posted on 09/27/2012 01:19 PM
    Sorry but the judge is wrong....

    If I get pulled over, I have to identify myself....
    I have to prove my identity and so should this man...whether he is black or white

    its nice to know that this judge has just set a precident and no-one will ever have to show ID ever again
    1. Karl posted on 09/29/2012 08:49 PM
      @Richard Ref your "If I get pulled over, I have to identify myself..."
      There is a nuance, here, that may have escaped you: If you get pulled over FOR A VALID REASON (alias "probable cause"), you should identify yourself.

      The content of this article suggest that he was pulled over due to racial profiling, an illegal reason in our society.
  2. Mario posted on 09/27/2012 01:20 PM
    Good for this man. It's good to know that the judge saw right through the nonsense and racist attitudes of the Police officers in this case. Just because someone is a visible minority, it does not mean that he/she cannot have a French name. It's not enough that immigrants have to learn French when they get here, but now, they must be "WHITE" Francophones as well.

    It just proves how the French majority needs to become a minority and the sooner the better.
  3. Mel posted on 09/27/2012 05:15 PM
    Really? Why does he have to show ID? Why should he need to give anything when he did nothing wrong? They are allowed to stop people for no reason? I guess everyone should let them just search their cars too. Sorry buddy, but you're wrong. I'd understand that if he had been speeding or something.
    1. UniKat53 posted on 09/29/2012 04:57 PM
      @Mel probably for the same reason I was pulled over after leaving a legion branch. After showing him my ID and him verifying it (including asking me: You live in Verdun, what are you doing here? - my comment was "I am not allowed to leave Verdun??) I asked him why he pulled me over - his reply was "because it is my right" I had not been drinking and as I was getting into my car I saw the cop car and just pulled out and went on my way home. He followed me until we were at the darkest place on ST Jacques before he stopped me when, IF he had thought I was drinking, he could have pulled me over anywhere on Girouard where there were lights. Needless to say, I reported him and I got an apology from the chief of his station. I was also told that IF I hadn't pulled over, I could have driven to the nearest police station - and had I had a cell phone at the time, I could have called 911 and told them the situation as this was during the time when someone was impersonating police officers and I was a woman alone in the middle of the night. The majority of our cops are good but there are a few bad apples who think that cause they carry a gun and are in a position of authority they can do what they want.
      I am glad that Mr. Debellefeuille won his case, however, I think that he should have shown his ID and then filed a complaint afterwards.
  4. Stéphane posted on 09/28/2012 03:22 PM
    Apparently, these two YAHOOS are being pulled before a disciplinary bureau for blatant racial profiling. Hopefully they will be fired. But we all know that in the POLICE world, that won't happen. The COPS have to be taught a stern lesson. It would be great if the police was majority visible minorities
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