The SCC’s Justification of Charter Breaches & Effects on Black & Indigenous Communities by E. KAKA
Throughout my time in law school, I noticed that the criminal cases covered in my courses very rarely adequately dealt with how racism affected the ways in which the police investigated and arrested Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC). Instead, I observed an expansion of police powers and a frightening trend of justifying Charter breaches that ultimately upheld systemic racism in policing — showing that racialized communities have very little recourse in addressing police misconduct.
I found it perplexing that a case like R v Grant, which is integral to our understanding of admitting evidence under section 24(2) despite Charter breaches, did not pay special consideration to the fact that Grant was Black and determined to be suspicious by the police officers with very little rationale. The Court found that the police’s conduct was “not deliberate or egregious.”3 I challenge the relevance of whether it was deliberate and disagree with the Court’s conclusion that the officers’ conduct was not egregious. The judgments in these cases often do not offer any insight into the dangers of granting the police this much power, nor do they acknowledge the dangers that expansion of police powers could pose to BIPOC who have long been subjected to racism and brutalization at the hands of police officers in Canada.