For the past three months, Quebec has had a curfew in place, which the government says is meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19. I have been out covering the curfew and the total police state in Quebec from nearly the beginning.
On Saturday night, the police ramped up their overreach in specifically targeting members of the Hasidic Jewish community with heavy-handed curfew fines — $1,550 for adults and $500 for minors. In many cases, they refuse to accept people's exemption papers, and sometimes won't even look at them, telling them to show it to the judge.
I have witnessed the cops only stopping visibly Jewish people on the street coming or going from work, prayers or just taking a walk to get some fresh air during these stressful times — while ignoring others doing the same things.
Police seem to be enjoying the new powers they have been given and are exercising them to the fullest extent possible. I had a chance to have a little chat with a cop right after he ticketed a man with an exemption note. He seemed very proud of the tickets he'd given out, and took my phone number so he could call me next time he hands out a fine (he hasn't called me yet).
In most cases, the police do not use discretion, and are choosing to fine people just because they can. I have been stopped close to 50 times and been ticketed at least 12, with threats of getting more curfew fines or jaywalking tickets in the mail. They fine me because they don’t want me on the streets filming their misdeeds.
To help us cover the costs of reporting on government lockdowns, please go to LockdownReports.com.