The Camara affair continues – Ensemble Montréal demands the immediate deployment of body cams within the SPVM

MONTRÉAL, Feb. 7, 2021 /CNW Telbec/ – Two years after the Plante administration’s refusal to deploy body-worn video cameras (“body cams”) for officers of the Montréal Police department (SPVM), Ensemble Montréal is once again calling for body cams to be put into use at the SPVM as quickly as possible.

According to the Official Opposition, putting this high-tech tool into use will help avoid arbitrary arrests such as that of Mamadi III Fara Camara, which damaged his reputation and forced him to spend six days in prison though innocent. Body cams will also help restore Montrealers’ confidence in police officers and reduce racial profiling. 

“It’s time to stop playing games! For two years we’ve been asking the Plante administration to act on this matter; each time, all we’ve gotten are excuses. The pilot project took place in 2016, and we don’t need more than one. Hiding behind false problems of financing and waiting for Québec will not resolve the issue. Montréal has the means to restore the population’s confidence in the SPVM. Body cameras have unanimous support; we just have to pull our heads out of the sand and get the cameras out into the field across Montréal” declared Lionel Perez, Leader of the Official Opposition.

Remember that the body cam pilot project took place under the previous administration in 2016. Since Projet Montréal took over, Ensemble Montréal has made SPVM transparency to the population one of its priority issues, particularly in order to rebuild bridges with racialized citizens.

City councillor Abdelhaq Sari, Ensemble Montréal spokesperson for public security, said in the same vein: “Everyone must be held accountable, that’s what we hear people saying; they want action, and they want to feel safe around police officers. In addition, body cams also protect police themselves from false complaints. It’s a useful tool that’s been tested by many other polices forces across North America, and it would be a win-win for all Montrealers.”

What’s more, in the past few days, SPVM Chief Sylvain Caron has himself come out in favour of body cams for his rank-and-file. All the players in this sector also seem to be in support of implementing body cameras, including pressure groups who advocate for minority rights in Montréal.

Real political will

“We’re not giving up until the Plante administration gives in. The Mayor needs to stop avoiding the problem. Montrealers of every origin must feel protected from police repression in their city. The tragic events of recent days involving Mr. Camara demonstrate that action is needed now, for the good of us all. We’re done accepting lame excuses and empty promises from Valerie Plante“, concluded Mr. Perez.

The motion will be debated at the February 22 session of the Municipal Council.

Motion by the Official Opposition

65.01

Municipal Council Meeting of February 22, 2021 

Motion for the immediate permanent implementation of body-worn cameras on SPVM officers

Whereas, desiring accountability, responsibility, transparency and the strengthening of public confidence in their police service, cities such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Fort Worth, Oakland, Calgary and Calgary have chosen to implement body-worn cameras or “body cameras”;

Whereas many American studies have identified a significant decrease in the use of force in police enquiries and associated complaints when police officers wear body cameras;

Whereas the number of stop-and-checks made by the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SVPM) rose by 143 % between 2014 and 2017 while there was no noticeable increase in the number of criminal incidents in Montréal;

Whereas, since 2010, there have been numerous reports on SPVM practices of profiling and police checks as well as strategic plans to address racial profiling, all with no conclusive results;

Whereas between May 2016 and April 2017, the SPVM conducted a pilot project aiming to equip its police officers with body cameras;

Whereas during the pilot project, investigators used the video recordings to improve police practices, as reported in the SPVM document;

Whereas the results of the pilot project showed that 69% of SPVM patrollers recognize that body cameras can be particularly useful in reinforcing their testimony to the Court;

Whereas since the end of the SPVM pilot project, body camera and data storage technologies have improved;

Whereas the captured videos act as an additional tool to complement officers’ event reports, facilitate evidence sharing with Crown prosecutors, improve public perception of the role of police, and decrease vexatious and unfounded complaints against police officers;

Whereas the complete video recordings of a police enquiry or intervention will not only help residents, police officers, and disciplinary, ethics and judicial bodies clarify the circumstances of such enquiries and interventions, but also encourage victims of abuse to file complaints and question discriminatory behaviour by a police officer;

Whereas the large-scale deployment of body cameras will constitute a concrete measure to counter racial profiling at the SPVM and increase public confidence in the work of Montréal police officers;

Whereas administration amendments to the Official Opposition’s motion in February 2020 had the effect of forcing Montrealers to wait for the end of a Gouvernement du Québec pilot project on body cameras, an issue entirely within the jurisdiction of the City of Montréal;

Whereas the time for pilot projects is over and it’s time to act to put an end to the status quo of current police practices that seem to encourage racial profiling behaviours at the SPVM;

Whereas the administration voted against an amendment presented by the Official Opposition to the 2021-2030 Ten-Year Capital Investment Plan to finance the implementation of body cameras during the December 9, 2020 special session of the Municipal Council;

Whereas the wearing of body cameras by SPVM officers would have helped prevent charges against Mr. Mamadi III Fara Camara and deter such grave judicial errors as led to the stay of proceedings by the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions;

Whereas during a recent press conference held February 4, SPVM Chief Sylvain Caron stated that the department he leads is ready for body cameras to be deployed on police officers;

Whereas there is an urgent need to act to make sure that arrests such as those of attorney Kwado D. Yeboah and Mr. Mamadi III Fara Camara never happen again;

It is proposed by

Abdelhaq Sari, City Councillor for the Marie-Clarac district;

Seconded by

Josué Corvil, City Councillor for the Saint-Michel district; and

Marvin Rotrand, City Councillor for the Snowdon district;

That the current administration immediately begin the gradual and permanent implementation of body-worn cameras on police officers with full respect for the privacy and the protection of personal information of individuals;

That the administration convene, as quickly as possible, extraordinary sessions of the Agglomeration Council and the Municipal Council in order to amend the 2021-2030 Ten-Year Capital Investment Plan accordingly.

 

SOURCE Ville de Montréal – Opposition officielle à l’Hôtel de Ville de Montréal

The Camara affair continues - Ensemble Montréal demands the immediate deployment of body cams within the SPVM WeeklyReviewer

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The Camara affair continues - Ensemble Montréal demands the immediate deployment of body cams within the SPVM WeeklyReviewer
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