Montreal man believes rough arrest caught on video was racially motivated

Montreal man believes rough arrest caught on video was racially motivated

MONTREAL — A Montreal man says he’s been left traumatized following an arrest by police north of the city in which he was allegedly dragged from a car by his hair and struck.

Samuel, who did not want to give his last name because he’s fearful of police, said the incident took place when he was in a car with two friends on May 25 — the same day George Floyd died in police custody in Minnesota, setting off anti-racism and anti-police protests.

A two-part video of the incident published online appears to shows a Laval police officer standing outside a car asking a male black passenger several times to get out of the vehicle, as the man asks why he’s under investigation.

“Put your hands on the vehicle,” one of two police officers is heard saying.

“For what reason?” the man answers.

After Samuel asks again why he’s being investigated, an officer responds, “if you don’t get out of the vehicle, I’ll arrest you for obstruction.”

Moments later, an officer can be seen reaching into the vehicle and dragging the man out onto the sidewalk by his dreadlocks.

The second video appears to show one officer striking the man as he and his partner kneel over him on the sidewalk, ordering him to stop resisting and to put his hands behind his back as the man claims he can’t because he’s being held.

Samuel said he was later released with a ticket for not obeying physical distancing rules.

He said he’s now “mentally suffering and traumatized” from the incident, which has left him afraid to go outside and run into police, and he is pursuing legal action against the city for what he believes is a racial profiling incident.

A spokeswoman for the Laval police said the video “doesn’t show everything,” including the reasons for the police stop. But she said the force can no longer comment because four complaints stemming from the incident have been filed to the police ethics board.

Sgt. Genevieve Major said the man could face charges of breaking probation, obstruction and assaulting a police officer, but it is up to the Crown prosecutor’s office to decide if charges are filed.

She pointed out the Laval police received eight racial profiling complaints out of 150,000 interventions in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available. Of those, three were ultimately investigated by the police ethics board.

“Mathematically speaking, in looking at the numbers, you can’t say one to three complaints per year investigated by police ethics represents a racial profiling problem,” Major said.

Virginie Dufresne-Lemire, one of the lawyers representing Samuel, says there were “many problematic elements” to her client’s arrest.

She said the brutality of the arrest, and especially pulling a person by their hair, is “completely unacceptable.”

“He was not aggressive, he was not violent, there are other methods you can use,” she said in a phone interview.

She said her firm is still analyzing the facts but will likely file a lawsuit seeking damages against the City of Laval on grounds that could include racial profiling, violation of dignity or excessive force.

Gunar Dube, a criminal lawyer who is also representing Samuel, said he intends to seek criminal charges against the police.

He believes the car was stopped on a “pretext” and any subsequent charges represent an attempt by police to justify their actions.

He noted the car was searched by police in the moments following the arrest, and nothing illegal was found.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 5, 2020

The Canadian Press

racism

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

Just Posted

Manny’s Motel demolition underway. Shaela Dansereau/ The Pipestone Flyer.
Manny’s Motel demolition underway

The property has been vacant since the fire that destroyed most of the structure Jan.14, 2020.

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
City and County of Wetaskiwin reporting active cases

Both the City of Wetaskiwin and County of Wetaskiwin have active cases.

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Leader of the Opposition Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday October 22, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were ‘late and confused’ on COVID response

He says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has taken charge and not waited to make things happen

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

A lawsuit filed by environmental law firm Ecojustice argues the inquiry is politically motivated

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Most Read