Police used excessive force in 2010 arrest: Ethics Board
Published Wednesday, February 13, 2013 10:29PM EST
MONTREAL—Farid Charles, 26, was pulled from his friend’s car by Montreal police officers nearly three years ago in front of a Caribbean restaurant in LaSalle. He was thrown to the ground and handcuffed.
“It was difficult, it hurt, because I was never arrested before in my life,” said Charles. The owner of the restaurant believes that the police went too far.
The Police Ethics Committee agreed on Wednesday, ruling that the two officers were guilty of four breaches of the police code of ethics, including illegal arrest and excessive force.
“I was never in trouble with the law before and I never felt helpless,” said Charles.
The committee however rejected Charles' claim of racial profiling, leaving the Centre for Race Relations stunned.
“We are starting to raise questions about whether these judges really get it, about what racial profiling really is,” said Fo Niemi, a spokesman for the centre.
“The reason for them intercepting and coming to the car was not based on anything. It was based on the fact that this is a black area and they’ve had previous problems in the area,” said Charles.
Eventually, Charles was fined for “wandering without being able to justify his presence.” That fine was revoked.
But those implicated in this case believe Charles was a target.
“If a black man cannot sit in a car in a well-lit parking lot, what is that? That is racial profiling,” said Roy Glanville, the owner of the restaurant LaSalle Caribbean.
The human rights commission is also hearing this case, but it has yet to rule.
Next Thursday the Police Ethics Committee will release its decision on sanctions, essentially how the two officers will be punished.
“We expect that for each of the breach, for each of the officers there should be a five day suspension without pay,” said Niemi.
The ethics committee issued a statement defending its findings and countering that a racial profiling claim is very difficult to prove. Charles is far from satisfied with the ruling.
“Instead of being protected, I was hurt by the people that were supposed to protect me.”
Charles has 30 days to decide whether to appeal the ruling.