Racial profiling study put on hold

By Gerald V. Paul


A Ottawa police racial profiling study that stemmed from the settlement of a human rights complaint, has been put on hold for two months.

A then 18-year old Chad Aiken filed a complaint in 2005 with the Ontario Human Rights Commission believing that police stopped him “while he was driving black” in his mother’s Mercedes.

He also alleged that a police officer punched him, put him in a headlock and threw him to the ground after he asked for the officer’s badge number.

A partial settlement was reached three years ago. Those terms were not disclosed.

The second part of the settlement came last year when the Ottawa Services Police Services Board agreed to the Traffic Stop Race Data Collection Project.

The project will see police officers record the race of drivers at every traffic stop for at least two years. Officers will not ask drivers their race but identify it through observation.

The launch date was extended to no later than June 27 this year to allow more time to incorporate feedback into the project, train officers, and finalize the methodology and design of the study, according to a news release issued by Ottawa police.

“Human rights-based data collection involves many steps,” said OHRC chief commissioner Barbara Hall in explaining the two month delay. “This extra time will help ensure that the best possible data is collected. It will also provide sufficient time to consider and incorporate the feedback that has been received so far from the public and officers.”