Montreal settles with Mamadi Camara in wrongful-arrest suit


He had been falsely accused of the attempted murder of a Montreal police officer.

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The man wrongfully arrested by police and charged with attempted murder last January has settled his case with the city of Montreal.

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Lawyers representing Mamadi Camara confirmed Wednesday morning they reached an agreement with the city to settle the case.

“Mr. Camara and his entourage of him are satisfied because this agreement allows them to put an end to the judicial pursuit linked to the deeply disturbing events that occurred in January 2021, ”lawyer Virginie Dufresne-Lemire wrote in a statement.

Camara was arrested, charged with the attempted murder of a Montreal police officer and then abruptly released when it was determined authorities arrested the wrong man. He announced last July that he was suing the city of Montreal and Quebec’s attorney-general for $940,000. With the other plaintiffs included, the amount of damages sought increased to $1.2 million.

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Camara was charged Jan. 28, 2021, with assault, attempted murder and the disarming of Montreal police traffic officer Sanjay Vig. Vig had just issued a ticket to the 31-year-old Camara for allegedly using his cellphone while in his car. The assault took place during Camara’s traffic stop and although he was among those to call 911, Camara was arrested and charged a day later in connection with the attack.

It was not until Camara’s bail hearing six days later that he learned along with the rest of the courtroom that all charges against him had been dropped. The Crown’s decision was based on images captured on a traffic surveillance camera — images that Montreal police investigators had seen — that showed a third person had been at the scene of the assault.

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Two days later, Montreal police chief Sylvain Caron issued a formal apology to Camera for his wrongful arrest and detention, saying that DNA evidence had exonerated him.

On March 25, Montreal police reported they had arrested Ali Ngarukiye in connection with the Jan. 28 assault.

Ngarukiye, 21, has since been charged with the murder of a fellow inmate at the Rivière-des-Prairies Detention Center where he was being detained while awaiting trial.

The lawsuit contended that Vig gave false statements concerning Camara’s traffic stop as well as in identifying Camara as his assailant. It argued that the officers who arrested Camara behaved in an unnecessarily violent manner, pulling him from his car with one officer using his boot sole to hold Camara’s head to the pavement.

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The legal action also contended that Montreal police behaved in an abusive manner while searching Camara’s home — ordering many of the building’s occupants to sit for hours in a bus. It also claimed police deliberately leaked confidential information to news outlets in an effort to damage Camara’s reputation.

The complaints against the office of the provincial attorney-general, which oversees Quebec’s office of criminal and penal prosecutions, included the contention that prosecutors did not fully analyze the case against Camara before filing criminal charges against him. It argued that the Crown based almost all of its case on statements from the police and that the “new” exculpatory evidence — the surveillance video indicating the presence of a third person — had been available since the day of Camara’s arrest.

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“The prosecutor did not act with the independence and impartiality required of his role, criteria made even more important in this case, given the seriousness of the charge and the fact the victim was a police officer,” the suit contended.

It said Camara was a victim of an illegal interception and arrest by police, a victim of racial profiling and of a “sloppy police operation based on racial discrimination.”

Camara’s lawyer said her client thanks the Quebec population for their support, which he said was an important source of comfort for him and his family.

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