Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montreal, February 4, 2021 — The Mamadi III Fara Camara case raises troubling questions that the Montreal Police Service and the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions will have to provide answers.

Mamadi III Fara Camara, a doctoral student at the École Polytechnique de Montréal, was arrested last Thursday evening and charged with four counts, including disarming and assaulting a police officer. The 31-year-old Black man was incarcerated for almost one week.

However, the information revealed by a video surveillance camera made it possible to clear the four charges against him, including attempted murder and aggravated assault against a peace officer. The prosecution yesterday withdrew the charges and the judge ordered his immediate release.

The SPVM's handling of this incident, which virtually destroyed the reputation of an innocent man and deeply affected his family, raises serious questions that will need to be examined by an independent investigation.

In order to ensure Mr. Camara access to justice, the full protection of his rights and the restoration of his reputation and honor, CRARR considers that an independent investigation must be set up urgently by the Government of Quebec. Such an investigation is essential in order to avoid bringing the administration of justice into disrepute.

Such an investigation should not prevent other inquiries from being launched, in particular by the Police Ethics Commissioner and by the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission (CDPDJ), considering that Mr. Camara's race could have been a factor in the way he was treated.

In fact, the CDPDJ, which has the power to launch a systemic investigation on its own initiative, and which has often advocated for the need to fight systemic racism, should launch such an investigation in this case.

This case also underlines the urgent need for police officers to wear body cameras,

This incident has resulted in a serious blow to the credibility, image and integrity of our police and judicial authorities in Montreal. Public confidence in these authorities has been tested and must be restored at all costs.

Moreover, this serious incident tells us that despite all the promises, all the plans and all the endlessly repeated commitments by the administration of Montreal to eliminate racial profiling by the SPVM, we still have not made any real progress: merely being Black is still viewed and treated as a safety threat by the police in Montreal.