Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Case history of racial profiling and carding in Ontario: Selwyn Pieters

By Selwyn A. Pieters, B.A., LL.B., L.E.C.
Lawyer & Notary Public (Ontario, Canada)
Attorney-at-Law (Republic of Guyana, Island of Trinidad)
Created June 17, 2015

“Racism, and in particular anti-Black racism, is a part of our community’s psyche. A significant segment of our community holds overtly racist views. A much larger segment subconsciously operates on the basis of negative racial stereotypes. Furthermore, our institutions, including the criminal justice system, reflect and perpetuate those negative stereotypes.”  R. v. Parks, (1993) 15 OR (3d) 324; 24 CR (4th) 81; 84 CCC (3d) 353; [1993] OJ No 2157 (QL); 21 WCB (2d) 121; 65 OAC 122  (Ont. C.A.), p. 369.

I am one of the leading lawyers in Ontario on the carding and racial profiling file. I therefore take this opportunity to chart my own journey in the quest for a juster justice system and the elimination of lawless law enforcement. Twenty three years after Carlton Parks decision very little has changed in respect to the lot of Black males in Toronto and Ontario in respect to our interactions with law enforcement, Courts and Tribunals. I recently litigated a carding incident of lawyering whilst Black arising out of a carding incident in a lawyers' lounge up to the Court of Appeal: Peel Law Association v. Pieters, 2013 CarswellOnt 7881, 2013 ONCA 396, 228 A.C.W.S. (3d) 204, 116 O.R. (3d) 81, 306 O.A.C. 314, 9 C.C.E.L. (4th) 233, [2013] O.J. No. 2695(Ont. C.A.) and most recently R. v. Steele 2015 CarswellOnt 3334, 2015 ONCA 169, [2015] O.J. No. 1253 (Ont. C.A.). Leave to the Supreme Court of Canada denied:  R. v. Steele, 2015 CanLII 43092 (SCC).

Selwyn argued numerous case of racial profiling in Criminal Courts including: R. v. Agil, Chambers, Fullerton, Jimale and Brown 2011 CarswellOnt 18099 (Ont. CJ. July 14, 2011, Khawley J.) [Carding led to a big gun, drugs and gang case that I successfully litigated in Toronto... Project Threadbare the Judge called it because of the lack of evidence]; R. v. Steele, 2010 ONSC 233 (ON S.C.) and R. v. Egonu, 2007 CanLII 30475 (ON SC) - Driving while black and R. v. Bramwell-Cole [2010] O.J. No. 5838 (ON S.C.) - walking while black. Charges of cause disturbance and assault police can be pretextual racial profiling charges: R. v. Roach, 2005 O.J. No. 5278 (Ont. C.J.) (Criminal Law - Causing a Disturbance); R. v. Ramsaroop, 2009 CarswellOnt 5281, 2009 ONCJ 406 (Ont. CJ.); R. v. Taylor, 2010 CarswellOnt 6584, 2010 ONCJ 396, [2010] O.J. No. 3794 (Ont. CJ.).

M. (R.) was a case involving a youth 14 years old who was arrested four time by Toronto Police all based on racial profiling and improperly targeted him for arrest and detention based on Code-related grounds. He has no convictions yet was targetted, carded, arrested, detained, on several occassions. His case was fiercely litigated by Toronto Police and the reported decisions stand as a monument to the challenges litigants face in litigating racial profiling:
M. (R.) v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2013 CarswellOnt 12134, 2013 HRTO 1472
M. (R.) v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2013 CarswellOnt 11941
M. (R.) v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2013 HRTO 1102
M. (R.) v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2013 HRTO 73
M. (R.) v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2012 CarswellOnt 11158
M. (R.) v. Toronto Police Services Board, [2011] O.H.R.T.D. No. 618, 2011 HRTO 410
M. (R.) v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2011 ONCJ 143, 2011 CarswellOnt 1980, 2011 ONCJ 143, 274 C.C.C. (3d) 272 (Ont. CJ.)
M. (R.) v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2010 CarswellOnt 9121, 2010 HRTO 2349
M. (R.) v. Toronto Police Services Board was settled to the satisfaction of all parties and the terms of settlement reached remain confidential.

Carding by Toronto Police killed Dwayne Manning: Manning v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2014 HRTO 1409 (CanLII). This became one of my most difficult and challenging case. As Dwayne Manning continued to be carded and harassed his confidence was shaken and his mental health declined. He took his life in 2014.

My most satisfaction came from my face-off with three police officers who shattered my confidence in Toronto Police as an entity that respects that rights of citizens. Pieters v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2014 HRTO 1729 (CanLII). In this case, I witnessed racialized violence against two Black males and intervened. I took this case to the HRTO with no regrets.

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