Racial Profiling Case Important for New Generation of Lawyers
In April 2017, in the Divisional Court ruling of Elmardy v. Toronto Police Services Board 2017, Justice Harriet Sachs, Justice Ian Nordheimer (as he then was), and Justice Nancy Spies, ruled that a Black plaintiff, Mr. Mutaz Elmardy, had been racially profiled. The bench awarded Mr. Elmardy $50,000 for breaching of his Charter rights, $25,000 in punitive damages and $5,000 for battery.
In September 2017, the Law Times reported on this important case, citing the following passage from the decision: “The only reasonable inference to be drawn from the fact that both officers, without any reasonable basis, suspected the Appellant of criminal behaviour, is that their views of the Appellant were coloured by the fact that he was black and by their unconscious or conscious beliefs that black men have a propensity for criminal behaviour. “This is the essence of racial profiling,” said the ruling.
Falconers LLP lawyer, Anthony Morgan, stated “in my research, it’s the highest [civil damages award] for a racial profiling case in Ontario . . . I haven’t seen anything like this before.”
Morgan commented further, stating that typically, cases involving racial profiling are pursued through avenues such as the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. “One of the ongoing critiques, however, of the Ontario human rights tribunal system is that damages are typically too low. This case shows that pursuing Charter damages through a civil suit is a viable option as opposed to just automatically deferring to the human rights tribunal process and proceeding,” he says.
Calling the decision, “historic”, Morgan stated that the ruling is important for a new generation of lawyers and community workers interested in the issue of racial profiling
In the News
Damages awarded in racial profiling case Law Times, September 11, 2017