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

Friends have identified the man killed in Friday’s shooting in Metchosin as Shane Wilson. (Shane Wilson/Facebook)
West Shore RCMP continue to investigate shooting death in Metchosin

Man killed on Sooke Road Friday night identified by friends

Fire Chief Darren Hughes, right, pulls the old Firemans Park sign off ahead of the parks name change. The new sign for Firefighters Park is coming. (Oak Bay Fire Department Twitter)
Oak Bay changes the name of Fireman’s Park

New sign for Firefighter’s Park on the way

The WHL’s Victoria Royals will compete in a 24-game season starting March 26, <strong></strong>based out of a Kamloops and Kelowna B.C. division bubble (Kevin Light/Courtesy Victoria Royals)
‘Important to cherish every moment’: Victoria Royals not taking bubble season for granted

The Victoria WHL team’s coach and GM calls the season a ‘privilege,’ expects fierce rivalries

The Victoria Fire Department was able to contain a fire to one room after a bed placed directly against a heater ignited. (Black Press Media file photo)
Early morning Victoria balcony fire causes $20,000 in damages

Victoria Fire Department said nobody was injured in the fire on View Street

Postmark Group, an Edmonton-based development firm, bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year, and is reaching out to the community and local groups for feedback before they begin planning the designs for the development. (Photo contributed/Postmark Group)
Waterfront village development eyed for Sooke

Postmark Group development firm bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year

Const. Nancy Saggar, who has 11 years in policing, offers advice for other women who may pursue both policing and family. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pregnancy prompts sage advice from RCMP officer for women thinking about policing

West Shore constable with 11 years experience heads off on maternity leave

(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

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.
21-year-old motorbike rider dies after crash with ATV on Nanaimo back road

Incident happened Sunday afternoon near Boomerang Lake

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Most Read