Black City Councillor arbitrarily stopped and questioned by Hamilton Police

On April 26, 2016, Hamilton’s first and only black city councillor – Mathew Green- tweeted that he was stopped and questioned by Hamilton police arbitrarily saying “For those of you who think police carding is over. I was just arbitrarily stopped/questioned by @HamiltonPolice as a City Clr in my own city”

Reactions to his tweet have been mixed, with some sympathizing and calling for the end of carding while others downplaying the role of racial profiling in carding, claiming that it happens to everyone.

According to the complaint Green submitted to the Hamilton Police, which gives details of the interaction, during the incident, the Councillor was waiting for a bus. He was asked what he was doing there, where he was going and his name.

Describing his experience, Green wrote in the complaint: ‘This process of arbitrary stopping and questioning in public with cars lined up on the street waiting caused me embarrassment, frustration and anger. He repeatedly questioned my credibility, acting in an intimidating manner and continued to harass me even though it was clear I was not a suspect in any crime nor involved in criminal activity. I feel what he was doing was unlawful and unconstitutional.

Hamilton Police has been under fire lately for practicing ‘carding’ and keeping race-based information on file. These random stops and checks affect visible minorities, specially, blacks disproportionately.

According to the new provincial rules released recently, a police officer cannot initiate contact based solely on race and a valid reason to initiate a contact is to investigate a particular offense.

Read related stories:

Black city councillor says Hamilton police ‘carded’ him

Black city councillor Matt Green says police carded him in ‘confrontational’ incident

‘What does a criminal look like?’ Councillor files complaint over police stop


Yohana Otite

Yohana Otite is the co-founder of BornBlack and writers on issues that revolve around the intersection of race, gender and class. Yohana also manages the Hamilton DiverseCity onBoard program at Hamilton Centre for Civic Inclusion.

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