MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is “concerned” about the arrest of a Montreal man wrongly accused of attempting to murder a police officer and kept in detention for almost a week.
Trudeau described the case of Mamadi III Fara Camara as “troubling” and said he has confidence Quebec authorities will do what is needed to figure out what happened.
“I know the responsible authorities are very aware of the pressure that will be on them to figure out exactly what went wrong and to fully answer the questions of friends and family and citizens who are extremely worried about this troubling incident,” he told reporters Friday.
Camara was arrested Jan. 28, after a police officer was allegedly disarmed and attacked following a traffic stop in Montreal’s Parc Extension borough — located in the Papineau riding Trudeau represents.
He spent almost a week in detention when prosecutors on Wednesday dropped all the charges against him after they said evidence had surfaced absolving him.
Earlier on Friday, Montreal police said the investigation into the assault is continuing and that they’ve found a vehicle they said they believe was driven by a suspect in the case.
Const. Caroline Chevrefils said the red Hyundai Elantra was found in the city’s southwestern LaSalle borough and that detectives were interviewing witnesses in the area and checking if neighbourhood cameras captured images of the car or its driver.
In a statement issued Friday morning, the office of the director of prosecutions said that prosecutors “in principle” are required to have a complete case before charges are laid. But, it added, it’s “not exceptional” for charges to be laid early in the interest of public safety.
Audrey Roy-Cloutier, spokeswoman for the director of prosecutions, wrote that police arrested Camara based on information provided by the officer who was attacked and from circumstantial evidence. She said the charges were filed at the request of police.
Roy-Cloutier said prosecutors received new evidence Feb. 3 and that after reviewing it, came to the conclusion it was no longer possible to support the charges against Camara.
Politicians and civil rights groups on Thursday demanded an independent investigation to determine how Camara ended up in jail for almost a week before the charges were dropped.
Later on Friday, a community organization in Parc Extension is organizing a protest in solidarity with Camara, who is Black, and highlighting concerns about racial profiling in the neighbourhood.