In Canada, we have the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 7 of the Charter holds that all persons have a right to life, liberty and security of person.
When a police officer uses unwarranted or unreasonable force on a Canadian, they breach that person’s Section 7 Charter Rights.
Section 9 of the Charter protects against arbitrary detention.
When a police officer arrests or detains a Black person in Canada without cause, but on suspicion born of racial profiling, they have violated that person’s Section 9 right.
It is common for these violations to be exposed at the aggrieved person’s criminal trial. Even if police found contraband on that person they unlawfully detained, for example, the accused can seek relief based on the Charter violation. Even if the person had committed a crime and was lawfully subject to arrest, they can – in the clearest of cases – have the case thrown out if police used unreasonable force in effecting that arrest.
It shines a disinfecting light on police misconduct. The courts are unwilling to be seen to condone such behaviour, and the say so. Ideally, this sends a message to the public that there is accountability. Ideally, this deters police from misconducting themselves. Ideally, it provides the person who was wronged appropriate relief on an individualized basis.
But you have to go to trial to stand up for these rights and these remedies. In Canada you can attempt other routes to address police wrongdoing but it is, by all indications, an expensive and remarkably difficult road to hoe. For the most part, if you plead guilty to the offence – out of remorse, or to avoid a harsher penalty – the police misconduct goes unaccounted for and undeterred.