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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Man accuses Montreal police of racial profiling after being sprayed with pepper following traffic stop

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MONTREAL – A black Montrealer accuses the police of racial profiling after declaring that he was sprayed with pepper by white police during a violent arrest.

A video taken on June 24 shows Lamine Sale Nkouendji forcibly kidnapped from his vehicle by two white Montreal police officers. Since then, several videos of the same arrest have been released, showing crowds watching the man scream in pain while his car was seized.

CTV News Montreal contacted the SPVM for a comment, but was told that it would not be possible until Monday.

Nkouendji told CTV that he feels that the police racially profiled him when he was stopped at a traffic light on Avenue Van Horne and Avenue Querbes in the borough of Outremont in Montreal.

He said he saw the two police officers turn around before arresting him.

“I asked the officer the reason for my arrest. He said, “You went through a yellow light,” said Nkouendji.

Upon his return, according to Nkouendji, the officer told him that his license had been suspended for unpaid fines – which “surprised” him to hear – and that the car should be towed.

Nkouendji asked if a friend could come and pick up his car, but the officer told him that it should be impounded for 30 days.

“I asked him to explain and he said, ‘Sir, get out of the vehicle now!’,” Said Nkouendji. “I try to understand the reasons for the seizure of the vehicle and I see him and his colleague putting on their gloves. They started to pull me by my clothes. “

When he asked for time to get his phone and other personal belongings, Nkouendji said that they forced him out of the car and sprayed him with pepper.

“The first time I missed him, I begged [him] don’t do that. Then he put his arm in my hands and sprayed pepper directly into my eyes, ”he said.

“They were trying to remove it,” said witness Miriam Vaillancourt, who recorded the arrest on her phone and posted it the same day on Instagram.

“It was pretty violent … It was mostly him shouting that he wanted to take his phone.”

The video shows Nkouendji getting out of the car, handcuffed and forced to sit on the floor. He said he had an eye injury from a traffic accident and had trouble seeing it.

Nkouendji said that the combination of the eye injury and the pepper spray made the pain excruciating and he repeatedly asked for water, which he said was initially refused and then given it after about 10 minutes.

Nkouendji added that his request for a lawyer had also been denied.

He was released after approximately 30 minutes and was charged with obstructing a police officer.

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