Homeless man's $110K in fines sign of 'systemic' issue with police, advocate says



Homeless man’s $110K in fines sign of ‘systemic’ issue with police, advocate says

Advocates are highlighting what they say is an unjust police practice as the reason behind why one homeless Montrealer racked up $110,000 in tickets.“It was shocking,” said Émilie Guimond-Bélanger, a social worker at the Droits Devant legal clinic.
“We’ve never seen someone with so many tickets,” she said.
When Guimond-Bélanger pulled out the homeless man’s file, it was 30 centimetres [12 in.] thick.

Guimond-Bélanger said the homeless man’s $110,000 fines amounted to about 500 tickets, many of which were received in the same week or by the same police officer.

The man, in his 50s, had been living in the subway for a few years.
When he approached Droits Devant for help, Guimond-Bélanger said his file showed repeated fines for sleeping in the subway, begging for money, and drinking in public — “things that someone who doesn’t have a home has to do in the public space,” she said.
“He had received around 500 of them [tickets]. I could see that most of the time he would receive many in the same week, sometimes by the same officers as well.”

In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.
– Anatole France

Sounds to me that Canadian cops have quotas for writing tickets same as here.


Hopefully the judge will dismiss them. That’s ridiculous.


It’s pretty much certain he won’t be able top pay the fines…there needs to be an internal investigation to see if a few police are deliberately targetting homeless, and does it stop with tickets or are worse things involved. Not accusing here, just thinking it needs to be checked out.


Good point to bring up, sounds like these cops were trying to encourage the guy to do his thing in another city, as long as its not theirs. Some people DO NOT need to be in positions of authority.


It is a waste of paper.
It would be easier to get blood out of a stone.


You do realize that we don’t actually have quotas right? Quotas take away our discretion, which is illegal and something that we all vehemently oppose. I don’t understand where this belief originated.


The ticket may have been a means to encourage him to find a shelter, which many homeless do not like to do. Homeless are often the victims of violent crimes because they are both vulnerable and available. Perhaps they had tried to help this individual in the past and he would not listen. Perhaps they issued this summons, fully expecting that he would not pay, with the hope that he would move on to a safer location. We’re not all actually heartless, believe it or not, and there is usually more to the story that what is reported.


The police know well enough that the man is not going to pay his fines. They are fully aware of how many tickets they have given him, and to follow the law would be to throw him in jail for non-payment.

Obviously, that is not what the police were interested in doing. What they are doing is police work. Instead of turning and looking the other way when they see a pile of rags snoring in the corners of the station, they confront him, deal with him, communicate with him, see how he is actually doing.

It is pretty easy to freeze to death in Montreal, or to OD with everybody else just turning the other way. What the police do is to deal with this kind of thing, because nobody else really is in a position to do so. It is encouraging actually that the tickets are a record of how much the police care and are involved with the street life.


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