Mamadi Fara Camara receives formal SPVM apology, calls renewed for bodycams

Montreal police (SPVM) have met with Mamadi Fara Camara in person to formally apologize after he was wrongly accused of attempted murder of a police officer.

Camara’s lawyer, Virginie Dufresne-Lemire, says he and his family are grateful for the apology from police Chief Sylvain Caron.

But Dufresne-Lemire says her client is still riddled with questions.

“Such as, were there sufficient elements to decide that he was the main suspect? The way the arrest was made, was it in conformity with how it was supposed to be done? The fact that he was in detention for six days… Is that normal?”

Camara was arrested Jan. 28 after a police officer was allegedly disarmed and attacked following a traffic stop in Montreal’s Parc-Extension borough.

Read more:
Montreal police clear man of wrongdoing in attempted murder of officer

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The ordeal has prompted several calls for an independent inquiry looking into what went wrong and renewed calls to implement body cameras for police.

Municipal opposition leader Lionel Perez is one of the people calling on the City of Montreal to move forward with the technology.

“It ensures more accountability and transparency, it protects alleged victims but also police officers,” Perez said. “In light of the Camara affair — where we saw that a video recording was able to exculpate Mr. Camara — we think the time is right.”

Read more:
Several Montreal boroughs push for the deployment of police body cameras

Last summer, several Montreal boroughs adopted motions calling on the city to move forward with bodycams, including Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Pierrefonds-Roxboro and Montreal-North.

In 2019, Montreal opted not to outfit the SPVM with the equipment after looking over results from a 2016 pilot project, saying it was too costly and that the video from bodycams wouldn’t be admissible as proof in court.

READ MORE: Montreal police question use of body cams after 7-month pilot project

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante says the city has always been in favour of the project but the circumstances must be right.

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“It’s about making sure that this time is a good time, so we don’t spend money on something that doesn’t work as much or as it should be, even in court,” Plante said.

Plante says she is talking with Quebec Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault to include the SPVM in a bodycam pilot project to be conducted with the Sûreté du Québec.

“Because we’re ready and we need that,” Plante said.

Meanwhile, Camara’s lawyer says he’s still weighing in his options, such as potentially filing a lawsuit against Montreal police.

Click to play video 'Black man’s wrongful arrest sparks calls for independent inquiry'

Black man’s wrongful arrest sparks calls for independent inquiry

Black man’s wrongful arrest sparks calls for independent inquiry

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