NDG man takes racial profiling complaints to Police Ethics Commission for the fourth time
“I never thought that I’d be saying this, but I’m really afraid for my life. After what the police have done to me in the past, there’s no telling what they can do in the future.
And because nothing is being done by the police commissioner, or by the politicians at the City of Montreal, it’s like they’re trying to normalize police behavior towards Black people.
“I think it’s time that the United Nations steps in and take a look at what is happening in this city.”
Kenrick McRae has a lot to say about Montreal police. That’s because he has had a lot of interactions with them over the past couple of years, which includes four complaints at the Police Ethics Commission, for unjustified targeting and stops.
The 48-year-old who drives a Mercedes Benz ML500 sees himself as a poster child for racial profiling. And he is heading right to the commission after his latest run-in with the police on August 6.
McRae, who lives in western NDG, says he was taking recycle from his vehicle when a patrol car with two officers, a male and a female drove by, and as the police have done with him on so many other occasions they reversed.
“One of the officers rolled down the window and asked: “Boy…who does this car belong to?” I told them it belongs to me and asked what was the problem.
They wanted identification. I refused, telling them that I was just putting out the recycle.
The female officer noticed the bag of recycle and saw an empty stout bottle, which she pulled out and said she was going to charge me with having an open alcohol bottle in the vehicle and needed my identification.
At that point they started to put on their gloves and I saw other cars started coming on the scene. Fearful for my safety, I gave them my identification.”
They served him with a $480 ticket.
A visibly distraught McRae, who once served as a former assistant superintendent with the Guyana Police Constabulary, knows when he’s being targeted.
He says over the past couple years he has been a victim of continuous harassment at the hands of the police. He tells the story of one morning over a span of an hour or two, receiving three tickets from one officer who followed him, waiting for him to make the slightest of mistakes on the road. If the harassment weren’t as traumatic as they were, they would have been material apt for comedy.
Another morning he was stopped by an officer who claimed that there was no license plate on the car. McRae claims that he couldn’t believe what he was hearing, and upon checking, there it was.
The officer said he didn’t see it. When he complained, the police supervisor told him that officers are human beings and they make mistakes.
Another time he was driving up Cavendish Blvd. and making a turn on Cote St. Luc Road in NDG, when he observed a police vehicle coming at ‘break-neck’ speed up Cavendish. He could not believe that they were after him. They were. When the female officer pulled him over, he asked what was the problem. She told him that they only wanted to caution him “to drive carefully.”
On March 3, 2017 McRae was the subject of a public takedown by the police on Westminister Avenue in NDG. Then he was told that his license plate lights weren’t working. They were, but the encounter led to him being roughed up and handcuffed for “disturbing the peace.”
That case was heard at the Police Ethics Commission this past June and he is awaiting a ruling.
His two other complaints at the Commission ended with the officers being reprimanded, but without any serious penalties.
He is preparing to go back to the Commission with his latest run-in, but doesn’t expect more in terms of what the consequences would be for the officers.
Visibly exhausted and emotionally drained from talking about the incidents, McRae showed resolve in the face of the ultimate question.
“No, I don’t think that I should change my car. This is my car and I have the right
to drive it. The police are not stopping guys wearing a jacket and tie who are driving cars like mine… why are they stopping me?”
What’s frightening is how far they will go to terrorize me… all because of a car.
He intends to join the class action lawsuit instigated by the Black Coalition of Quebec against racial profiling by the Montreal police.