A Montreal man said he was attacked by four police officers, who he believes have “hatred for young black men.”
At a news conference on Tuesday morning, Mark Wiles-Simpson, 19, said officers choked and punched him because they suspected him of stealing merchandise from a nearby liquor store.
Wiles-Simpson said he was apprehended on his way to work near Côte-Vertu metro station in Montreal’s Saint-Laurent borough.
He said he was talking to his cousin when a police car drove towards them, and an officer told Wiles-Simpson’s cousin to “go away.”
Wiles-Simpson said one police officer held his arms while another one held him in a chokehold. A third officer allegedly punched his ribs repeatedly.
He said the officers still held him in the chokehold when he was taken down to the ground.
A video taken by one of his friends shows four officers holding Wiles-Simpson down before putting him in a police car.
“All I heard is to be still and stop resisting,” said Simpson. “But all I did was yell in pain and in shock since I had no clue of what was going on.”
Authorities later admitted Simpson was not the man they were looking for but charged him with resisting the arrest.
Wiles-Simpson said he may file human rights and police ethics complaints with the help of the Centre for Research Action on Race Relations.
“This incident shows that there is something evil in the culture of Montreal police, some kind of deep-rooted hatred and contempt for young black men like me,” said Wiles-Simpson.
His mother, Dionne Wiles, is demanding that Montreal police apologize for the events.
“It traumatized him, you know?” she said. “I raise my son to respect the law, to do the right thing, I never really think that he’d get in this position.”
“I would feel a big relief if they admit that they did the wrong thing, apologize to him and clear our name. That’s what I would really like,” she added.
In 2010, the Quebec Human Rights Commission said dozens of cases involving accusations of racial profiling by Montreal police were being stalled by the city.
According to the commission, the city filed an application in Quebec Superior Court challenging the commission’s right to call officers to testify at its hearings.