Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montreal, September 29, 2010--- The Crown has dropped six criminal charges laid against an African Montreal man who was arrested and violently assaulted by Montreal Police officers.

Back in March 2007, Mr. Jean-Paul Ounabakidi, a businessman and beauty salon owner, was driving his 17-year old son to his gym in his SUV near Frontenac Metro Station, when he was stopped by the two officers and fined for not having his car insurance certificate and for not signing his registration. After the stop, the two officers followed him to his beauty salon near subway station where they would arrest, pepper spray, assault and arrest him in front of his wife and children. He would be charged four months later with six criminal offenses:assaulting police officers; assaulting police officers with the goal to prevent his arrest;and dangerous driving.

With CRARR’s help, he filed complaints with the Quebec Police Ethics Commissioner and the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission. The Commissioner at first dismissed his case in 2008; CRARR applied for a review of the decision before the Police Ethics Committee, which eventually overturned the decision due to evident flaws in the Commissioner’s investigation and conclusions. The Committee ordered the case to be brought to it for a hearing.

In January 2010, the Committee found that the two officers committed several key police ethics violations, such as illegal arrest and detention; failing to inform Mr. Ounabikidi of the grounds for his arrest; assault; and laying of penal and criminal charges without grounds. The racial dimension (such as the police version that Mr. Ounabakidi, a church-going Christian, was crying ”Allah, Allah” in the back of the police car when he was bleeding; the racial profiling claim, etc.) was dismissed by the Commissioner and not addressed by the Committee.

In a decision rendered on April 13, 2010, the Committee ruled that Officer Stéphane Boucher, who has been on the force since 1998, be suspended for a total of 42 days without pay, and Officer François Plamondon, on the force since 2006, for a total of 30 days without pay.

The civil rights complaint filed by CRARR on behalf of Mr. Ounabakidi, which describes the case as a typical “Driving While Black” racial profiling case, is still under investigation by the human rights commission.

Additional steps will be taken in the coming days to ensure authorities' protection of Mr. Ounabakidi's civil rights.