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Six Fast Facts on “Street Checks” in Hamilton

November 23, 2015 Fast Facts

 

CBC Reporter Kelly Bennett recently wrote a story about Street Checks in Hamilton. Street Checks are also sometimes referred to as Carding.

The story came from data released in response to a Freedom of Information request from CBC Hamilton to the Hamilton Police Service.

Here are six Fast Facts from the data.

  1. A 25-year-old aboriginal woman was stopped on the street by Hamilton police 14 times in 2012.
  2. In 2013, a 29-year-old black man was "street checked" 13 times.
  3. In 2010, a man, considered by officers to be of Middle Eastern descent, was stopped and questioned nine times. 
  4. Of the 46 people stopped more than five times in one year in street checks, 44 of them were recorded in the police database as visible minorities, either black, aboriginal, "Mid East" or "S. Asian/E. Indian."
  5. Of the 134 people carded more than three times in the same year, just eight of them were white.
  6. More than 9,000 interactions over the last five years have been filed in the police database as street checks, even if the person has not done anything wrong.

Kelly Bennett’s story is entitled Visible Minorities More Likely to be Street Checked Multiple Times in the Same Year than White People. You can find it at http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/hamilton-police-carded-the-same-aboriginal-woman-14-times-in-1-year-1.3324958

Our View

The Hamilton Community Legal Clinic believes that there is no justification in case law or statute for ‘street checks’ (as the practice is called in Hamilton and other municipalities), or ‘carding’ (as the practice is labeled in Toronto). In particular, It is our position that t street checks/carding, amounts to a contravention of sections 7 to 10 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and section 1 and 11 of Ontario’s Human Rights Code. “

Clinic staff put forward our position at an October meeting of the Hamilton Police Services Board. We have been reviewing the draft regulations put forward by the Ontario government. You can find a summary of these proposed regulations at http://www.ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?postingId=20202&language=en

 

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