NCCM: Ottawa Police traffic stop study raises questions about racial bias
-For Immediate Release-
(Ottawa– October 25, 2016) The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a prominent civil liberties & advocacy organization, is raising concerns about a new report which suggests that a disproportionate number of Black men and Middle Eastern men and women are being stopped by Ottawa police.
The numbers were released as part of Ottawa’s Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project report, made public yesterday. The report is based on a landmark two-year study which was led by York University researchers.
“When any racial or ethnic group finds itself disproportionately stopped by police, it raises justifiable questions about racial profiling or bias,” says Ihsaan Gardee, NCCM’s Executive Director. “Why are more Black, and Middle Eastern men and women, particularly youth, being stopped than any other ethnic group?”
The report contains numerous findings, including that “there was a greater propensity that these [. . .] racialized minority groups were traffic-stopped for nothing serious enough to be warned or charged, when compared with the White group.”
“These findings beg for answers and highlight the need for further study to determine the underlying factors causing this anomaly and to develop and implement solutions to address these troubling conclusions,” says Gardee. “Trust is a key part of policing, and it is important for the Ottawa Police Service to work with communities to nurture ongoing dialogue and to foster transparency.”
The traffic study was part of a settlement in the case of an 18-year-old Black man who was stopped while driving his mother’s Mercedes Benz in 2005. Chad Aiken said he had been taunted and punched by police officers in that incident.