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Civil rights group questions Montreal police conduct after officers wrongly detain Black man, misplace key to handcuffs

A video showing Montreal police detaining a man during an investigation into a stolen vehicle Thursday is drawing questions on officer conduct.
The video begins with the man and the two officers standing in a parking lot beside the vehicle. The man, who has his hands cuffed behind him, is demanding police explain why he was stopped.
"Is it because I’m Black?" asked the man, more than once, who repeated that the car belongs to him.
"Not at all," responded the plain-clothes officer.
"Then what is it?" the handcuffed man continued. "A vehicle I bought, you say it looks like a stolen vehicle … that is so humiliating."
The Montreal police service wrote on social media Friday that it was aware of a video of the police interaction circulating online and that the force "immediately" looked into the officers’ conduct.
"Yesterday afternoon, two expert motor vehicle theft investigators noticed a Honda CRV SUV parked in a mall parking lot," police wrote. “The unoccupied vehicle showed typical and obvious attempted theft marks on one of the locks (damage)."
"Before they could finish their checks, a citizen walked up to it to take possession of it,” the post said. “He was temporarily detained for investigation … The citizen was released unconditionally and without charges once the checks were completed."
Before he was released, however, it appeared the officers were unable to release his cuffs, because they didn’t have the key.
"If it’s his car, why is he still in cuffs?" asks the man filming the altercation.
"That’s my question," said the man to the camera, visibly upset. "What is that? They don’t have the key … What kind of way to work is that?"
The officers repeated that they were waiting for the key to be delivered.
It was an "embarrassing moment" for police, according to Alain Babineau, a former RCMP officer and current director at Red Coalition, an advocacy group against racial profiling.
“Professionally, that’s very embarrassing,” said Babineau. 
"I can tell you, these things have happened in my career, not necessarily to me, but other officers who I was with," he added.
"I want police officers to do the best they can, and most of the time they do," he said. "But, I think in this whole encounter, there are a lot of questions around the professionalism which the officers displayed."
When other officers arrived, the man was un-cuffed and then released.
"It’s over, it’s over," said one of the officers.
"No," responded the man. "You’ve humiliated me."
Babineau says it’s hard to say from the video whether the methods used by police were inappropriate.
The video begins at a point where the investigation appeared to be already resolved. He said that it's not uncommon to detain people suspected of stealing vehicles and that the use of handcuffs is discretionary.
"There’s that piece of information that we don’t know: what drove the officers to put this person in handcuffs?” said Babineau.
However, he said that people ought to look carefully at interactions between police and people of colour, especially when that person is considered a suspect, "because the reality of racial profiling is well documented across Canada."



Civil rights group questions Montreal police conduct after officers wrongly detain Black man, misplace key to handcuffsPolice detention criticized as racial profilingMontreal cops should apologize to Black man suspected of stealing own car: groupBlack man handcuffed after car Montreal police thought was stolen ended up being hisUn groupe contre le racisme demande des excuses à la police de MontréalLongueuil, Que., given ultimatum on release of race-based traffic stop dataRacially-profiled man challenges Longueuil to present race-based police data, threatens suitRed Coalition takes legal action against city of Longueuil and police force‘Mistake No. 1 was putting him in handcuffs’| The Corner BoothInterpellations sans motif: un retour en arrière demandéRights groups call on Quebec not to appeal ruling on police checksProfilage racial : le gouvernement Legault prié de ne pas faire appelProfilage racial: Le gouvernement du Québec prié de ne pas faire appelCommunity groups urge Quebec to support end to random police stopsThe Red Coalition Mandates The Law Firm Grey Casgrain to Take Further Legal Action Against The City of LongueuilRed Coalition takes more legal action against City of Longueuil and its police forceCanada sees rise in homicides, Statistics CanadaRights groups optimistic about selection of Montreal police chief who opposes racial profilingFady Dagher promet un équilibre entre répression et préventionQuébec porte en appel l’interdiction des interceptions policières aléatoires sur la route


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