Racial profiling: Court rules in favor of 54 migrant workers against OPP

Racial profiling: court rules in favor of 54 migrant workers against the PPO

The legal recourse of the 54 West Indian agricultural workers against the PPO reaches $30,000 per person.

Several dozen migrant farm workers, mostly from Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, say they were coerced into providing DNA samples during an investigation in the Bayham area of ​​Ontario.

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An Ontario Administrative Tribunal rules in favor of migrants in their $1.6 million discrimination lawsuit against the Ontario Provincial Police. The farmworkers' group argued that the police practice of taking DNA in a rape investigation they said violated the province's Human Rights Code.

About 50 West Indian migrants who were working in southwestern Ontario at the time believed they had been racially targeted in an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police in 2013.

Their defense claimed during hearings last March that the workers were discriminated against because they are Black and their status at Immigration Canada made them vulnerable.

In its decision dated August 15, 2022, the Human Rights Tribunal agreed with him.

The Tribunal finds that the color and country of origin migrants were indeed factors in the conduct of the OPP and that the police service did violate section 1 of the Ontario Human Rights Code.< /p>

The plaintiffs' defense claimed that migrant farm workers are not treated well in Canada.

The affront to dignity lawsuit, which is filed in the name of Leon Logan, says the plaintiffs felt humiliated at the time and unfairly treated because of the color of their skin in this case. /p>

At the time, the victim was sexually assaulted under threat in the small community of Bayham by Henry Cooper, a black migrant who has since been sentenced to prison.< /p>

The woman had described her assailant as a muscular black man in his 20s, with no facial hair, between 1.75m and 1.80m tall. He had a deep voice with a possible Jamaican accent.

She had told police that she was convinced the attacker was a migrant worker, because x27;she thought she saw him near her home in rural southwestern Ontario.

As part of their investigation, the Ontario Provincial Police nevertheless collected DNA samples from 96 farm workers of Caribbean origin at five farms in Elgin County, in order to find out what was happening. apprehend the suspect.

The Human Rights Tribunal of the Ontario is in this downtown building in Toronto.

In this regard, the Tribunal notes that the police searched for and collected the DNA of all migrants, whether or not they matched the victim's description or had an alibi, instead sufficiently ensure that vulnerable workers are able to provide voluntary and informed consent to DNA collection.

Ministry of the Attorney General lawyer Christopher Diana argued during the hearings that the OPP investigation was non-discriminatory and that the color of the complainants' skin was irrelevant. to do with the actions of the investigators.

Mtre Diana maintained that the public was in danger at the time, that there was a risk of recidivism and that; it was necessary to act quickly, because the agricultural workers were going to return to their countries after the autumn harvests.

The lawyer had recalled that the context in which the x27;sexual assault was committed was significant and that it was reasonable and credible to do so because the suspect was in the vicinity of the victim.

He added that the victim had given a good description of his attacker, but it was not clear enough to rule out all the migrants around his home. here.

More details to come.

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