The Fraternity Montreal police continue to refuse to recognize systemic racism within the SPVM, deplore nine black police officers in a letter sent to Yves Francoeur, president of their union.
The letter, of which Subway obtained a copy, was written in response to two interviews given by Mr. Francoeur on June 20, in which he stated that there was no problem of systemic racism and racial profiling within the Police Service of the City of Montreal (SPVM).
Few days ago, the SPVM management had nevertheless recognized “the systemic nature of racism and discrimination”, while committing to act to combat them.
“We were surprised that you did not believe that there was a problem of systemic racism and racial profiling within the SPVM. (…) [M]onsieur Francoeur, racism does not spare the SPVM. A minority, he brings the entire organization into disrepute, “the letter said, which was sent to the president of the Police Brotherhood on June 24, read.
“Recognizing a problem is the first step towards the solution; we would like the Fraternity to also look into the problem ”, also wrote the nine signatories.
Yves Francoeur replied to them in a letter sent on June 26.
“In the police context, many understand from the term systemic racism that everyone is involved in some form of deliberately racist system, which, in addition to being untrue, is outrageous for Montreal police officers. We therefore abandoned the semantics to avoid dividing ourselves on an expression, ”wrote the president of the Fraternity.
Yves Francoeur adds that his media outings were intended to “defend the majority of police” on which a small minority practicing racial profiling discredits “.
“We are aware of reality, regardless of how we call it. For us, the important thing is to fight racism and discrimination within our ranks. “
In the wrong direction
Alain Babineau, an advisor to the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) and a former police officer, criticized the Fraternity’s reaction in a press briefing on Sunday.
“Again, they are so afraid that the members will feel attacked as racists that they are going in the opposite direction completely, saying that these are just the few bad apples they are going to deal with. “
“They don’t want to recognize or take the time to explain the difference between systematic and systemic. We are in front of a wall, ”argued the man who spent almost 30 years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The retired police officer believes that this position could tarnish the image of the SPVM in Canada and hinder its efforts to hire police officers from cultural communities.
“During my nearly 30-year career in the police force, I have met many black Quebecers who have chosen to expatriate to join other police forces,” he noted. The SPVM has a serious image problem in attracting black police officers or other communities. “
According to the SPVM’s 2018 annual report, only 268 SPVM police officers were from visible minorities, or 8.5% of the total workforce.
“The Fraternity defends the majority of its members and the majority are White,” said Mr. Babineau. It’s good to take a stand and say they’re not racist. But they still have to take a more open position to the feelings of the black members of the SPVM. Otherwise, they don’t represent them. ”