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

Forty-eight vaccination clinics will open across Interior Health beginning March 15. (Canadian Press)
48 COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open across Interior Health

Select groups can book appointments starting Monday

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

The two suspects arrested south of 150 Mile House Tuesday, March 2, following a high-speed chase with the RCMP have been charged. (Will Roberts photo)
High-speed chase suspects charged, remain in custody after arrest south of Williams Lake

John Craig and Maggie M. Higgott appeared in Williams Lake Provincial Court March 4

Interior Health reported 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5. (Black Press Files)
Interior Health reports 33 new COVID-19 cases on March 5

Over 300,000 vaccine doses have been administered provincewide.

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to Stoney and Minnie lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complains about that condo

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Health Minister Adrian Dix, front, B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrive for a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, March 6, 2020. Pandemic emergency measures have been in place for almost a year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. officials plead for patience as 1.7 million COVID-19 calls flood in

Vaccine registration for 90-plus seniors opened Monday

A West Kootenay man died in an avalanche on March 4 while snowmobiling near Mount Payne, which is indicted by the red flag. Illustration: Google Maps
B.C. father of 3 dead after avalanche in West Kootenay

The man was snowmobiling with a group when incident occurred March 4

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

Software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, has been forced to re-skill during the COVID-19 pandemic after more than six years of unsuccessfully applying for jobs in B.C.’s tech industry. (Submitted photo/Shaimma Yehia)
Why skilled immigrant women continue to be shut out of B.C.’s booming tech sector

Experienced software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, hasn’t found a job since she migrated to Canada 6 years ago

Most Read