June 5, 2020 18h29
A man denounces the use of force used by the police during his arrest in Laval
The canadian Press
LAVAL — A young man claims to have been traumatized following an arrest by police in Laval, during which he was allegedly beaten and dragged out of a car by the hair.
Samuel, who did not want to give his last name because he says that she is afraid of the police, said that the incident had occurred when he was in a car with two friends the 25th of may – the same day of the death of George Floyd in Minnesota that have sparked protests against racism and police brutality.
A two-part video of the incident posted online appears to show a police officer in Laval, standing in front of a car, asking repeatedly to a black passenger out of the vehicle, while the man asks why he is the subject of an intervention.
“Put your hands on the vehicle”, can we hear one of the police officers request.
“But for what reason?”, responds the man.
After Samuel asks again why he is the subject of an intervention, a police officer responds: “If you go out of the “tank”, I stop for obstruction.”
A few moments later, we can see the policeman advancing towards the interior of the vehicle and dragged the man on the sidewalk with his “dreadlocks”.
The second video appears to show a police officer striking the man while he and his partner get down on their knees on him on the sidewalk, ordering him to stop resisting.
In the video, the police ask him to put his hands behind his back, and it says that it is unable to do so since it is maintained at the ground.
Samuel said that he was released with a ticket for not having respected the rules of social distancing.
He stated that he was traumatized since the incident, fearing to go out and face the police, and he is planning a legal action against the City for what it believes to be an event of racial profiling.
A spokesman for the police said that the video did not show the reasons for the arrest, but the police could not comment, because of complaints about the incident have been filed with the ethics committee of the police.
The sergente Geneviève Staff has indicated that the man could be charged with failing to comply with a probation order, obstruction and assault against a police officer, but he returns to the office of the director of criminal and penal prosecutions to decide if charges are filed.
She stressed that the police of Laval has received eight complaints of racial profiling over 150 000 operations in 2018, the most recent year for which data are available. Among those, three were ultimately the subject of an investigation by the ethics committee of the police.
“Mathematically speaking, by looking at the numbers, you can’t say that one to three complaints per year that is the subject of an investigation by the ethics committee represent a problem of racial profiling,” said Ms. Major.
Virginia Dufresne-Lemire, a lawyer representing Samuel, said that there were “numerous problematic elements” in the arrest of his client.
She said that the brutality of the arrest, and in particular to draw a person by the hair, is “totally unacceptable”.
“It was not aggressive, he was not violent, there are other methods that you can use,” she argued in a phone interview.
She said that his firm is still considering the facts, but it will probably be an action in damages against the City of Laval for reasons which may include racial profiling, the violation of the dignity or the use of excessive force.
Gunar Dubé, a criminal lawyer who also represents Samuel, said that he had the intention to bring criminal charges against the police.
It is estimated that the police used a “pretext” to intercept the car, and that any accusation later represents an attempt by the police to justify his actions.
He noted that the car had been searched by the police in the moments that followed the arrest and that nothing illegal had been found.