Teen accuses police of racial profiling
Published Tuesday, October 30, 2012 9:48PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 31, 2012 10:52AM EDT
A St-Laurent teen is seeking an apology from police after he was arrested for fitting the description of a ‘black male.’
Nineteen-year-old Mark Simpson was arrested in early October because police believed he had robbed a nearby liquor store.
Police released Simpson after telling him he was not their suspect in the liquor store robbery, but charged him with resisting arrest after a violent police takedown.
The entire ordeal was caught on video.
Simpson was sitting outside the McDonalds restaurant where he works in St-Laurent with his cousin, about to begin his shift.
He says a white police officer walked up and attacked him, and within seconds, three more officers wrestled him to the ground.
On the video, Simpson is seen and heard screaming in pain, asking police what he had done.
He was eventually placed into the back of a police car and told that he fit the description of a black male they were looking for in connection with a robbery.
Within minutes, the teen was cleared of any wrongdoing, but was charged with obstruction of justice.
Simpson sustained some injuries during the arrest, including a sprained ankle, a sprained neck, and bruised ribs.
Simpson is required to appear in court for the obstruction of justice charge. If found guilty, he may end up with a criminal record.
He and his mother spoke with media Tuesday to explain that the young man did nothing wrong.
“Mark has never committed a crime. Today, Montreal police made him a criminal. His crime is being black and male. He now has to spend months defending himself and his reputation,” said mother Dionne Wiles.
Simpson said the incident has left him shaken.
“When I see cops now, I get butterflies. I don't feel safe around police,” he said. “I don't want them to do this again to any black male. I don't want it to happen. I want something to be done, so I had to come out and speak.”
Simpson not only wants to clear his name, but his family wants an apology from Mayor Gerald Tremblay and the Montreal police department.
The family is now filing both civil rights and police ethics complaints.
Simpson is preparing for a court appearance in December on the charge of obstruction of justice.