The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) is racially profiling people in Edmonton. In two different examinations of EPS “street checks” the numbers show police are more likely to target Indigenous people and those who are Black than people who are white. Street checks, or “carding”, are when police officers stop someone to ask for their ID and other information, even though they aren’t suspected of a crime.
The major data release comes from Black Lives Matter, which examined stats around street checks between 2012 and 2016. CBC Edmonton also investigated, following up on previous stories they had done. Both reports find that Edmontonians who are Indigenous and Black are disproportionately stopped by police.
That’s especially true for Indigenous women, who are up ten times more likely to be stopped by police than white women. Troubling enough on racist merits, this is very upsetting when considered in light of the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women And Girls and how stigmatized that community already is.
“Edmonton police said the data doesn’t explain why certain individuals were stopped and therefore, people shouldn’t jump to conclusions.” But if police won’t share the details about how successful the street checks have been to prevent or solve crimes, there is no proof that carding helps police at all.
This is a police activity that is being challenged, reviewed or stopped in cities across North America (including in Lethbridge, Alberta). It’s actually under review by the provincial government right now, which is supposed to come up with new carding rules for Alberta’s police forces. It’s a practice that should be banned and any data collected through its racist methods erased.
As Black Lives Matter Edmonton’s Bashir Mohamed says, our city can’t allow this practice to continue while claiming to respect Treaty 6 lands, or efforts to reconcile with our Indigenous populations and people of colour who have been discriminated against. The data is clear. Let’s hope police, city council and the Alberta government are just as clear in their rejection of racial profiling on our streets.
Around the city
Ahead of overall system changes, Edmonton Transit continues to reduce bus routes that aren’t busy, redirecting resources to routes that are overcrowded or have more people riding. This is going to continue to be a challenge as ETS tries to give people in neighbourhoods using transit more buses and more options, while trying to still serve people in quieter neighbourhoods or some suburbs.
One thing we can probably agree on when it comes to transit, however, is that ETS can find a way to keep mailing out bus passes to people with disabilities. At the very least, there could be annual or semi-annual passes sold, so it’s not such a hindrance to pick up the passes. Blaming this on providing discounted passes to more people thanks to a low-income option seems lazy from the City’s side.
The City is being told not to bid on major events, like the Commonwealth Games or the Olympics, more than once each generation, if at all. A new report says Edmonton should focus on big, but not major, events like the World Juniors (hockey tournament).
The controversial oil and gas process of “fracking” is in the news this week. Information on where and when it’s happening in Alberta is not always updated or accurate. And a new study from the University of Alberta is challenging many other reports in saying fracking doesn’t cause earthquakes.
While it’s a small number, the dozen Indigenous women training to work on the Trans Mountain Pipeline is still important.
Edmonton has its newest poet laureate, who is looking to bring a national event to our city to celebrate written and spoken word arts.
There’s an open house tonight about the future Metro Line LRT extension through northwest Edmonton, 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., at Major General Griesbach School.
There’s a public event related to the Norwood Boulevard Corridor Study (turning it into more of a main street) tonight at the Ital Canadian Seniors Association, 6 – 8:30 p.m.
This article was updated on Wednesday, June 28, 2017