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Investigation launched into 'racial profiling' of lawyer

PROFILED: Jules Gnezekora says he was singled out four times in an all-white queue (Image: Jules Gnezekora)

THE EQUALITY Commission has launched an investigation following an allegation of racial profiling made by black British lawyer, Jules Gnezekora.

The complaint was lodged after Gnezekora claimed that on his return ferry journey between Belfast and Glasgow, he was singled out four times from an all-white queue.

In a statement to the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland, he said: “I was not treated equally to the white people who were travelling on the boat with me.

“Never at any point when I was being questioned on all four occasions, was I told either the legal basis for being stopped and questioned.”

His allegations have raised concerns that black and ethnic minority passengers are subjected to the unfair treatment while travelling between Northern Ireland and Britain’s border. Campaigners have warned that such checks could become more common post-Brexit, where the ease of travel has come into question.

To prevent other passengers from facing the same treatment, Gnezekora has called for the officers involved to undergo racial training if they were not following orders, which continuously prompted his checks.

“It is fundamentally wrong that someone can be pulled aside for a check merely because of the colour of the skin. They can make that mistake once, but to make it four times is not okay.

“As a black person, I don’t want anyone else to suffer because of the colour of their skin. It was humiliating,” he explained.

Gnezekora said: “They singled me out. Even after asking to see my passport and seeing it was British they continued to ask questions about where I was going and how long I was in the country for.”

He was reportedly “really upset” after his first encounter with officers but he didn’t raise the matter as a concern. It wasn’t until his third check that his frustrations grew.

Gnezekora said he was “furious”. He added: “It was like there was this assumption that the passport may not have been mine and I wasn’t entitled to it.”

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