Dr.Dawg

Ottawa police profile

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An Ottawa police officer, whose arrest of two young Black men after one of those “routine” traffic stops was questioned by a judge, has been cleared of racial profiling after a lightning-swift “investigation” by Chief Vern White.

The judge has now come in for criticism by the police union and a former police officer, who writes in the Ottawa Citizen this morning:

I find it highly disturbing that Judge Nicholas got away from her actual job and chose to become a mind reader of the arresting Ottawa police officer. Far too often our judges are implanting their own views into matters before them, rather than sticking to the verifiable facts presented. It was also very unfortunate that the arresting officer, now deemed by Judge Nicholas as being racially biased, was publicly named, as his reputation is likely now tarnished.

Well, by all means let’s stick to the facts.

  • The driver had borrowed the car, a Cadillac, from his mother.

  • The police officer, Const. Robin Ferrie, said that he stopped the car because 1) the driver and passenger didn’t look at him as they passed his police vehicle; 2) it was a random stop; 3) no, it was a targeted stop; 4) the car was registered to an older woman, and even though it hadn’t been reported as stolen, it still might have been; and 5) the area where the arrests were made was “high-crime” (downtown Rideau Street). He later testified that the car smelled of gasoline, and he wanted to make sure it was safe for the road.

  • Ferrie found it suspicious that the driver had his licence and the car registration ready after the stop, and stumbled over his mother’s address. He called for backup and two more police vehicles arrived.

  • The men were not told why they had been stopped.

  • Ferrie called and chatted with the driver’s mother. Meanwhile, another officer allegedly discovered a small quantity of drugs and a scale during a search of the car. The men were placed in handcuffs. (The Crown withdrew charges after the judge’s remarks about racial profiling.)

  • $1,685 in cash was seized from the young men, and later went missing from the police evidence lock-up. It was finally returned, although the men say that more had actually been taken. An investigation is on-going.

  • Under questioning from the judge, Ferrie said, hypothetically, that he would treat two white women the exact-same way, because most people look at uniformed police in a marked police cruiser.

I shall leave it to readers, for once, to pick apart this farrago. But in the meantime, remember:

If you pass a police cruiser in your car, make strong eye-contact with the officer, and try not to hit anything while you do.

If you are stopped anyway, do not have your licence and registration ready. Wait until asked, and then fumble around for them, but keep your hands in plain view.

Here, for balance, is a blogpost that really speaks for itself.

UPDATE: And, as reader CC reminded me b/c, for God’s sake don’t wish a police officer good luck.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr.Dawg published on July 12, 2011 11:52 AM.

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