“In March, 2005, Constable Michael Shaw was on patrol in the Bridle Path, an ultra-affluent Toronto neighbourhood he knew well. He was showing a female trainee the ropes. Down the street, he spotted an unfamiliar letter-carrier delivering the mail. He asked him for ID, ran his name through the computer, thanked him for his trouble and verified with a regular postie that the new guy was a fill-in. The letter-carrier was not insulted, detained or charged with any crime.
Innocuous? Not to Ronald Phipps, the fill-in letter-carrier. He is black. The cop is white. Mr. Phipps decided he’d been a victim of racial profiling, and took his case to the Human Rights Tribunal. In a ruling last month, the adjudicator agreed.
The decision makes for scary reading, because it says someone can be found guilty just for making someone else feel bad. “There is no need to establish an intention or motivation to discriminate,” it says. “[T]he focus of the enquiry is on the effect of the respondent’s action on the complainant.”
“According to the tribunal, “unconscious” discrimination is no different from “conscious” discrimination. And the onus is on the accused to prove he’s innocent. “Once a prima facie case of discrimination has been established, the burden shifts to the respondent to provide a rational explanation which is not discriminatory. … The respondent must offer an explanation which is credible on all the evidence.””
Ed Note: Mr. Phipps is suing the Police Chief and entire force for financial compensation.
…full story HERE.