Law enforcement officials said Wednesday that they will not bring criminal charges against two Montreal-area students, noting the racist video that was posted to social media — though clearly offensive — does not qualify as a hate crime. “There’s not enough evidence to lay charges,” Montreal police spokesperson Raphaël Bergeron explained to MTL Blog. “You have to prove people intended to incite hate crimes,” he continued.

"Obviously they were saying stuff about racism but they did not incite other people to commit any criminal act." 

Police launched an investigation after a video showing the teenagers in blackface surfaced on social media and received widespread condemnation.  

In the video, the teens dance around and repeatedly use extremely offensive language and racist tropes.

The girls in the video are minors, but that had nothing to do with the decision not to pursue charges, explained Bergeron.  

“There is a youth justice tribunal to take charge of crimes committed by minors,” he said. “It would change nothing for the SPVM.”  

According to the SPVM's definition, a hate crime is a criminal offence "motivated or suspected to be motivated by hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, gender identity, expression or sexual orientation or any other similar factor."

If you believe you’ve been the victim of or witness to a hate crime — or any other crime for that matter — or if you’ve stumbled across suspicious or hateful content on the web, you should immediately report it to law enforcement, said Bergeron.  

On Monday, John Rennie High School in Pointe-Claire confirmed that the girls are students.  

It condemned the their actions, saying "hatred has no place in our school."

The Lester B. Pearson School Board called the video "disturbing."

Cindy Finn, the school board director, would not comment on the police’s decision not to press charges but told MTL Blog that "any time we have behaviour that is not in compliance with our Safe & Caring School policy we take that seriously."

“There are a number of possible consequences that come," she said.  

 

“We think it's an important signal that we have work to do in our community, that we recognize that these kinds of incidents are troubling and disturbing and hurtful and we need to work together to learn from this and move forward."


This article's cover image is used for illustrative purposes only.

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