The congressman’s questioning of the UWindsor law professor during the federal committee on bail bond reform was called racist

Danardo Jones is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Windsor.  (Jason Viau/CBC - photo credit)

Danardo Jones is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Windsor. (Jason Viau/CBC – photo credit)

During a hearing of the federal committee investigating Canada’s bail bond system, Conservative MP Larry Brock questioned University of Windsor associate law professor Danardo Jones in a manner some have called racist.

Jones testified before the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights last week. He pointed out injustices in Canada’s justice system for racialized and marginalized people.

According to Jones, when people are racially profiled by the police, it leads to excessive incarceration of Black and Indigenous people. Because bail is based on credibility and trustworthiness, Jones said it puts racialized people on an unfair playing field.

“Some people are considered more credible and trustworthy because of certain racist narratives,” Jones said. “There is a profound problem with how risk is understood and how we interpret risk on certain bodies.”

He said this was a case where racial sensitivity and awareness came into play.

“Where do you get this data from,” Conservative MP Larry Brock, a former QC, asked during the March 8 hearing. “I find it quite offensive that you use this broad line to categorize the Crown system and the judicial system when it comes to marginalized people, Black people and Indigenous people, as they don’t get a fair shake in our bail system.

Brock also cited Jones’ seven years of experience as a criminal defense attorney as a “small period when Professor Jones actually practiced law.”

As an invited expert, Jones said he did not expect to be cross-examined in this way or to have his credentials denied.

He described it as a “very uncomfortable situation” for him.

CBC News requested an interview with Brock. Instead, the press secretary sent a statement attributed to Brock himself with Pierre Poilievre, leader of the official opposition.

“In an era of rising crime, when people of color are disproportionately victims of violent crime, and repeat offenders are repeatedly let loose on our streets with ease, all Canadians—regardless of race, color, or creed—deserve an honest debate about what is happening in our country. For elected officials on a parliamentary committee, that means asking questions,” Brock said in an email.

Watch the interaction between Rep. Larry Brock and UWindsor Law Professor Danardo Jones:

Now the head of the Black Studies Institute at the University of Windsor has sent Brock a letter explaining how the interaction contained racial stereotypes.

“By treating Professor Jones as a fraud, a hypocrite, and a rude human being, you have enacted all of the anti-Black tropes that we at the Black Studies Institute have worked to combat,” said Founder Natalie Delia Deckard.

The University of Windsor’s Racialized Academics & Advocates Centering Equity and Solidarity (RAACES) have also sent a letter to the President, Chancellor and the Institution’s Board of Directors calling for action.

They also say the interaction makes Jones “a target of racism” and call on the university to defend him.

RAACES wants the University of Windsor to make a public statement in support of Jones and demand an apology from Brock, among other things.

Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights of the House of Commons

Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights of the House of Commons

Jones doesn’t want the interaction with Brock to detract from the topic he traveled to Ottawa to talk about — systemic issues with Canada’s bail system that relate specifically to Black and Indigenous peoples.

“The fact that I address it is not the problem. As I said earlier, this is evidence that is readily available to all of us, and it is evidence that has been compiled over the last 30 years. This is something our courts, the highest court in our country, have recognized and said over and over again that we need to face this issue,” Jones said.

“If we pretend that’s not a problem, then we have a lot of work to do,” he added.

Because the exchange has garnered so much attention on social media, Jones says people have come forward that it has opened their eyes to issues related to inequality of justice.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people who probably never really thought about criminal justice reform [and] now they’re talking about it,” Jones said.

The Black Studies Institute said it also plans to file complaints against Brock with the Law Society of Ontario and the Parliamentary Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.


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