In his first public look since he was wrongfully arrested by Montreal police final month, Mamadi Ill Fara Camara mentioned he was unable to talk to his household in any respect in the course of the six days he spent in detention and that he stays deeply shaken by the ordeal.
“If they had listened to my story, maybe it wouldn’t have been six days,” Camara mentioned on Radio-Canada’s Tout le monde en parle Sunday, the place he appeared alongside along with his lawyer, Virginie Dufresne-Lemire, and group activist Will Prosper.
“It was a relief to my entire family,” he mentioned about his eventual exoneration, “because for those six days I was never allowed to speak to my family. Never.”
Camara, a 31-year-old PhD scholar, was arrested Jan. 28 after witnessing an assault on a police officer who had stopped him for driving whereas utilizing a cellphone in Montreal’s Parc-Extension neighbourhood.
Not lengthy after recounting what he noticed to a different officer, Camara was arrested close to his residence. Dufresne-Lemire mentioned police pointed their weapons at Camara, who was pulled out of his automotive via the window and thrown to the bottom. An officer put his foot on Camara’s head, she mentioned.
The police centered on one lead and ignored the absence of different proof, Dufresne-Lemire mentioned. “The phenomenon of tunnel vision, in my view, is evident,” she mentioned.
CBC News reached out to Montreal police on Sunday for touch upon Dufresne-Lemire’s remarks.
Police have insisted Camara’s arrest was primarily based strictly on the proof, not profiling. But Dufresne-Lemire mentioned “race played a role” in the way in which the story performed out.
Prosper was extra direct, positing whether or not somebody in a extra prosperous neighbourhood would obtain the identical therapy. Prosper mentioned police intercepted Camara on his method residence from the place he had witnessed the crime, but nonetheless turned his residence the wrong way up to seek for proof — after which made the opposite residents of the residence block depart to do the identical.
‘My household is aware of who I’m’
Camara mentioned his experience on the Rivière-des-Prairies detention centre, the place he was held, was “very traumatizing.”
“When I arrived I felt that all the guards there, it was like ‘it’s the cop killer,'” Camara recounted. “I was considered a monster.”
Camara was launched on Feb. 4 when the Crown stayed the fees, and exonerated him two days later. He has since acquired an apology from Sylvain Caron, Montreal’s police chief.
Camara mentioned his household — together with his spouse, who’s pregnant with twins — was relieved by his exoneration. He added they’d been robust all through the ordeal.
“My family knows who I am,” he mentioned. “And they knew I was innocent. Even though we couldn’t speak.”
Camara’s duties at his lab at École polytechnique de Montréal had been suspended in the course of the prison proceedings and he was barred from campus. He mentioned he has since been invited to return when he’s prepared.
“Right now it’s very hard to return,” he mentioned.
The Quebec authorities has introduced it’s going to maintain an investigation into Camara’s arrest. Dufresne-Lemire mentioned a lawsuit stays attainable, however they’re nonetheless learning their choices.