Indigenous women overrepresented in Vancouver police checks: rights advocates

B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs asked complaint commissioner to probe

Indigenous and civil rights activists seeking an investigation of the Vancouver Police Department’s use of random street checks want to amend their complaint based on new data showing Aboriginal women are checked more often than other groups.

In June, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs asked the province’s police complaint commissioner to investigate a significant racial disparity in the use of street checks.

During the checks, also called carding, police stop a person, obtain their identification and record personal information, even though no particular offence has occurred.

The association says in a news release that recently obtained data show Indigenous women accounted for 21 per cent of all checks of women in 2016, despite only making up two per cent of Vancouver’s female population.

The data was supplied by the Vancouver Police Department following a Freedom of Information request and was received after the original complaint was sent to the complaint commissioner.

A further amendment asks the commissioner to examine police stops in which personal information is elicited but the stop is not recorded as a street check so it doesn’t show up in police department data.

The original complaint was based on data from a Freedom of Information request that shows 15 per cent of street checks conducted between 2008 and 2017 were of Indigenous people, yet they make up just two per cent of the population.

The news release says during that period, Indigenous men formed one per cent of the city’s population, yet accounted for about 12 per cent of total street checks, while three per cent of checks involved black men, although they form just half a per cent of Vancouver’s population.

When the complaint was filed in June, Chief Bob Chamberlin of the B.C. Union of Indian Chiefs said the disproportionate rate of checks on Indigenous people was “staggering,” and he is angered by the newest data disclosed by police.

“We will not accept this example of institutionalized racism and we demand an immediate independent investigation,” he says in the release.

“How can we speak about true reconciliation when Indigenous peoples, and particularly women, are being targeted by the police on a daily basis?”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Skier triggers avalanche outside boundaries near Kimberley Alpine Resort

The skier was not injured and Kimberley Search and Rescue responded.

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

City readying for spring melt and potential flooding

Spring has sprung. With the warmer weather on the way, the city… Continue reading

Paul Blais provides daily, free breakfast to Cranbrook’s homeless

After winding up on the streets in 2018, Blais wanted to do everything he could to help others

Police investigating hydro meter theft

RCMP warn about the dangers of severe electrical shock, starting a fire

VIDEO: Can you believe it? This B.C. hill pulls cars backwards up a slope

Sir Isaac Newton had clearly never been to this Vernon anomaly when he discovered gravity

The Kootenay Ice, the Clock, and Time’s Arrow

It was the dying seconds in the last — the very, very… Continue reading

What’s on at the Cranbrook Public Library

Mike Selby Rick James (not the singer) tells the little known story… Continue reading

Letters to the Editor

Respect and Best Wishes Hats off to the fans of the Kootenay… Continue reading

B.C. lottery winner being sued by co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Teacher reprimanded for conduct towards special needs student

Alan Stephen Berry told vice principal he did not have time to use positive strategies

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

Woman punched on the sidelines of B.C. soccer game

Both involved were watching the U21 game in West Vancouver from the sidelines when things got heated

Most Read