When will the Finnish police service stop denying that ethnic profiling isn’t an issue?

by , under Enrique Tessieri

The Finnish police service acts as if it has never heard of ethnic profiling. Even if ethnic profiling cases by the police are rarely brought to the attention of the media, there was one case made public Friday by singer Musta Barbaari, whose mother and sister were – according to a Facebook posting – treated in “a rude manner” and were “humiliated publicly” by the police. 

Musta Barbaari writes on his Facebook wall that after spending the night in Helsinki’s city center, his mother and sister were stopped by two plainclothes police officers who asked them for their passport. Even if the posting and the

Even if the posting and the Helsingin Sanomat story doesn’t mention that the conversation with the police took place in the Finnish language, the singer’s sister refused to show her passport and asked the police why they were being arbitrarily stopped and questioned.

Musta Barbaari writes: “The plainclothes police didn’t answer [my sister’s question] but proceeded to handcuff both of them rudely and forced my mother to lie on the ground. My sister asked once again why they were being treated in such a way and what they had done but didn’t get an answer from police. My mother feared for her life and thought she was going to be beaten since the behavior of the police was very rude!”

Näyttökuva 2016-7-11 kello 4.21.05
Read full statement here.

The singer has brought criminal charges against the police.

The police released a statement that is pretty incriminating because it claims that the police were carrying out on that night, ulkomaalaisvalvontaa, or spot checks on so-called “foreign people.” Moreover, Police Inspector Riku Korpela adds more salt to injury by claiming that the police aren’t allowed to stop people because of their ethnic background.

“We have here pretty clear guidelines [concerning ethnic profiling],” he was quoted as saying in Helsingin Sanomat.

Here’s my question to the police: Would the police have asked a white Finn who spoke Finnish to show their passport? Would they have handcuffed and forced the person to lie on the ground if they refused?

The fact that the police statement states that the police were monitoring so-called migrants on that day is an admission that the whole police service operation leaves fertile ground for ethnic profiling. Put in context, Korpela suggests in code that the police service targets non-white Finns.

Migrant Tales believes that the police service, which is a white Finnish institution with little room for cultural and ethnic diversity, is in deep denial. Their view of who is and who isn’t ethnically a Finn is out-of-date and out of touch with what kind of a country Finland is today.

The police is one institution that continues to maintain, with the help of labels like “people of foreign background” and “foreign-looking” people, a racialized Finland that fuels “us” and “them.”

For Korpela of the police service to tell us in the Helsingin Sanomat article that they do no ethnically profile anyone because “it’s illegal” is highly incriminating as well. It not only reveals that the police service doesn’t acknowledge ethnic problem as a problem but wants to brush the issue under the rug.

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