The Hamilton Community Legal Clinic is demanding an immediate stop to “carding” or street checks by police officers.
Spokesperson Marla Brown has issued the challenge in a presentation to the city’s police services board calling it an “unconstitutional practice” and referencing a high-profile recent incident involving Councillor Matthew Green.
She adds that one can only surmise “how many of our youth and economically marginalized have experienced this dehumanizing, psychologically damaging and illegal practice and remained silent”.
She insists it’s not enough to wait for the province’s restrictions on carding to take effect in January.
Statistically, at least, there has been a dramatic decline in street checks.
Action Team statistics presented to the board on Thursday show 43 such incidents last year, compared to 192 in 2014 and almost 3,700 in 2013.
Board Chair Lloyd Ferguson wonders if public attention on the issue has “put a big chill” over officers. A police spokesman cites “uncertainty” and “clear defined roles of what we’re doing here”.