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The First Black City Councillor In Hamilton, Ontario, Says He Was Carded By Police

Matthew Green is the first black councillor in Hamilton.

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A city councillor in Hamilton, Ontario, says he was stopped and questioned by police for no reason this week while he was waiting for a bus.

stjacquesphotography.com / Via matthewgreen.ca

Matthew Green said two police cars stopped in front of him and an officer questioned him about what he was doing and what business he had in Hamilton, not realizing that he was in fact a city councillor.

Green tweeted about his experience on Tuesday. He called it an instance of "carding," the practice of police stopping people and taking down their information even if they are not suspected of a crime.

For those of you who think police carding is over. I was just arbitrarily stopped/questioned by @HamiltonPolice as a City Clr in my own city

Carding has been shown to disproportionately affect people of colour, especially black men.

The Ontario government announced reforms to the controversial practice earlier this year.

Hamilton Police Chief Ken Weatherill recently said the police force had almost completely stopped carding, even before the reforms took effect.

Green has written a letter of complaint to the police department. "This process of arbitrary stopping and questioning in public with cars lined up on the street waiting caused me embarrassment, frustration and anger," he said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by BuzzFeed Canada.

matthewgreen.ca

"He repeatedly questioned my credibility, acting in an intimidating manner and continued to harass me even though it was clear I was not a suspect in any crime nor involved in criminal activity," he wrote. "I feel what he was doing was unlawful and unconstitutional."

Green said he has been carded by police before, but that this was the first time since he was elected in 2014, becoming the first black city councillor in Hamilton's history. He said his experience mirrors that of countless others in Ontario, and that carding "criminalizes innocent people, dehumanizing them and making them question their own place in their community."

The Hamilton Police Service told BuzzFeed Canada it "cannot and will not provide any comment" on the allegation so as not to jeopardize the formal complaint process.

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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