'To show good faith': Montreal man invites police into his home and ends up handcuffed and bleeding
MONTREAL -- A Black man from Montreal invited three police officers into his apartment after a strange noise complaint, but a video shows them taking him down once inside.
He says he is now sharing the video because he wants people to know what it's like to 'not feel safe.'
The video shows the police officers taking down Lloys Chatel-Elie inside his apartment, then escorting him out in handcuffs.
“Vous êtes sérieux?” ("Are you serious?) he cries, clearly in disbelief.
The video is from late April, and Chatel-Elie says the incident left him bleeding in the back of a cruiser for an hour before the officers called an ambulance.
But it all started, he says, with a mysterious report of a loud party at the apartment where he was alone with his girlfriend — a report so strange that he invited the officers inside to see the reality for themselves.
Now, he says, the whole episode is reminding him that interacting with officers from the Service de police de la ville de Montreal (SPVM) makes him feel “in danger,” even when he’s cooperating.
And with growing Black Lives Matter protests in Montreal and around the world over the past few weeks following the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of white police officers in Minneapolis, he’s been reminded that other Montrealers need to know how this feels.
“I was under no obligation to let them in my house, but I did so by wanting to collaborate with them and to show good faith,” he said in a statement to CTV News.
“I felt betrayed and abused by them. No collaboration on their part, they just want to intimidate us and show that they have authority. When I see the Montreal police, I do not feel safe at all but rather threatened.”
He says he felt police responded to him the way they did because of his skin colour. Six weeks later, the recent protests against police violence inspired him to post the video to social media.
“It is not the first time that I have experienced racial profiling by SPVM agents — it is only the first time that it was actually filmed,” he said.
“It is not normal that in my country, in Canada, that I feel in danger towards ‘peace officers.’”
Montreal police said they could not comment or give any information about specific files. Chatel-Elie hasn’t been charged.
The video, which was filmed first by Chatel-Elie and then by his girlfriend, doesn’t show everything that happened that night.
The officers arrived at his door and said they were responding to a noise complaint about a party at the apartment.
Chatel-Elie, who works in the travel industry, explained he was alone with his girlfriend and invited them inside. Once inside, they asked for his name, and he asked them to leave — but they didn’t.
He says he asked several times. He once “lightly touched” an officer to direct him to the door, according to his lawyer, Virginie Dufresne-Lemire.
Things escalated after that, though the video cuts out before the incident ended. But Dufresne-Lemire says he had the right to ask the officers to leave, and they were obligated to do so.
“They didn't have a warrant,” she says.
“He didn't have to say yes — he wanted to show he was collaborating with the police officers, but when you give your consent, you're allowed also to take it back.”
Fo Niemi, a race relations advocate, says this is an all-too-common story in Montreal. He says police need better training in how to conduct themselves, but that this incident also demonstrates why there are so many calls for officers to wear body cameras.
“Those police officers, how they react can make all the difference,” said Niemi, the director of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations.
“They don't have to really escalate to the point we see in this video, which is…concerning and regrettable.”
Chatel-Elie says the entire situation is still mysterious to him, as he hadn’t heard any music or parties nearby that night.
He hasn’t made any formal complaints about his treatment and says he just posted the video to share his experience.
His lawyer says, however, that he’s now considering legal action.