Police cordon off the area where an officer was injured during a traffic stop Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in Montreal. Montreal police say they’ve found a vehicle today believed to have been used by a suspect in an assault on a police officer last week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Police cordon off the area where an officer was injured during a traffic stop Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, in Montreal. Montreal police say they’ve found a vehicle today believed to have been used by a suspect in an assault on a police officer last week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Montreal police chief apologizes to man wrongfully arrested for trying to kill cop

Chief Sylvain Caron said DNA results “allow us to exonerate” Mamadi III Fara Camara

Montreal’s police chief publicly apologized Friday to the man wrongfully arrested, charged and detained for almost a week in connection with an attack on a city police officer.

Chief Sylvain Caron said results from DNA analyses “allow us to exonerate” Mamadi III Fara Camara, who was arrested Jan. 28 after a police officer was allegedly disarmed and attacked following a traffic stop in Montreal’s Parc Extension borough.

Caron said he spoke with Camara Friday. “We agreed to meet in the coming days so I can offer our most sincere apologies to him and his family for all the inconveniences tied to the unfortunate events of the last few days,” he told reporters, reading from prepared statements.

“We are human, we sympathize with them,” Caron said, about Camara’s family. “My apologies, I offer them publicly.”

Camara spent almost a week in detention when prosecutors on Wednesday dropped all the charges — including attempted murder of a police officer — after they said evidence had surfaced absolving him. The case prompted politicians and civil rights groups to demand an independent investigation.

Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “concerned” about the arrest and described the case as “troubling,” adding that he had confidence Quebec authorities will do what is needed to figure out what happened.

“I know the responsible authorities are very aware of the pressure that will be on them to figure out exactly what went wrong and to fully answer the questions of friends and family and citizens who are extremely worried about this troubling incident,” he told reporters.

About 100 people gathered Friday evening in front of a subway station in the neighbourhood where Camara was arrested last week. Protesters condemned the arrest and called for an end to systemic racism, with many saying they didn’t believe Camara would have been arrested if he was white.

Cassandra Williams, one of the protesters, said police need to be held accountable for their actions. The mother of two Black boys said she worries what would happen if her older son, a teenager, is confronted by a police officer.

“Hold them accountable like children, you do something wrong, you’re going to get punished,” Williams said. “Hold the police accountable, hold their bosses accountable.”

Montreal police said Friday the investigation into the assault is continuing and that they had found a vehicle they said they believe was driven by a suspect in the case. Const. Caroline Chevrefils said the red Hyundai Elantra was found in the city’s southwestern LaSalle borough and that detectives were interviewing witnesses in the area and checking if neighbourhood cameras captured images of the car or its driver.

In a statement issued Friday morning, the office of the director of prosecutions said prosecutors “in principle” are required to have a complete case before charges are laid. But, it added, it’s “not exceptional” for charges to be laid early in the interest of public safety.

Audrey Roy-Cloutier, spokesperson for the director of prosecutions, wrote that police arrested Camara based on information provided by the officer who was attacked and from circumstantial evidence. She said the charges were filed at the request of police.

Roy-Cloutier said prosecutors received new evidence Feb. 3 and that after reviewing it, came to the conclusion it was no longer possible to support the charges against Camara.

Mayor Valerie Plante on Thursday denounced the detention of Camara — who is Black — as “unacceptable” and said any eventual independent investigation should examine whether racial profiling played a part.

Yves Francoeur, head of the Montreal police brotherhood, accused the mayor of “political interference” in the ongoing police investigation. In a letter to Plante Friday, the union head said her decision to discuss racial profiling in connection with the case was “extremely deplorable.”

“In doing so, you throw oil on the fire, undermine the social climate and complicate even more the task of those responsible for ensuring the safety of Montrealers,” Francoeur wrote.

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press

Police

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A graphic design of the new RCMP detachment which will be located on a five-acre property bordering Ford Road and Drinkwater Road. (File graphic)
Heavy trucks not allowed shortcut during construction of RCMP detachment

North Cowichan won’t allow heavy trucks on Drinkwater Road where not designated

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Laketown Ranch to welcome campers this summer

Sunfest site will provide camping amenities between May and September

‘I chose my children’s breakfasts purely based on what dishes would fit best into the dishwasher.’ (Bobbi Venier photo)
Sarah Simpson Column: Delayed gratification and the benefits of efficiency

I was driving with just my daughter the other day and we… Continue reading

Wayne Allen's graduation photo from Chemainus Secondary School. (Photo submitted)
Brother charged with murder in Chemainus teenager’s Ontario death

Jesse James Allen stands accused in the death of Wayne Allen, a 2020 Chemainus Secondary grad

The frequent disruptions to water service in Chemainus are expected to be a lot less after North Cowichan replaces the Smiley Road water main. (File photo)
Smiley Road water main in Chemainus to be replaced

$890,000 project expected to be completed this spring

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

1957 photo shows Six Mile House-sponsored #4 1932 Ford stock car with Frank Morris (from left), Ted Mackenzie, Bill Sim and driver Gerry Sylvester. (Bud Glover/Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame)
Memories race as Western Speedway approaches its finish line

‘It was life to us:’ Vancouver Island racers, crew will never forget what the track gave them

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

A crossover utility vehicle smashed through the front of a business on Bowen Road on Friday evening. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Vehicle smashes all the way inside business in Nanaimo

No serious injuries reported after incident at Venue Financial Centres on Friday

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Most Read