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Montreal, April 13, 2010 --- Farid Marlon Charles, a twenty-six year old local high school teacher, is filing civil rights complaints against two Montreal police officers after being violently arrested and receiving a $144 ticket for “wandering without being able to justify his presence” outside a restaurant.

At 12:00 am on April 9th, 2010, Mr. Charles accompanied his friend Jermaine, a twenty-seven year old entrepreneur and community volunteer, for what was meant to be a routine food pick up at the Lasalle Caribbean Restaurant located on 408 Lafleur, in Lasalle, a district in the South West part of Montreal. Both men frequent the restaurant on a regular basis. Mr. Charles was waiting inside his friend’s car in front of the restaurant while his friend went inside to pick up the order.

Suddenly, a young white male police officer began to open the driver door without warning. Shocked, Mr. Charles said, “you are not allowed to open someone’s door like that.” The officer asked Mr. Charles to provide him with car license and registration papers. When he tried to explain that his friend and owner of the vehicle was inside the restaurant, the police officer aggressively said, “Be quiet, there have been break-ins in this area.”

The police officer quickly demanded that Mr. Charles provide identification without giving any other information and continued to try force the car door open. Still surprised by this sudden action, Mr. Charles pointed to the restaurant and said that his friend was inside; he repeated that he didn’t have the right to open his door.

Within seconds, the officer moved to the passenger side and forced Mr. Charles’ passenger door open and grabbed him forcefully by the neck of his jacket to drag him out. His belongings, including his cell phone, went flying to the ground. To make matters worse, another officer tried to punch Mr. Charles in the face after he exited. When Mr. Charles instinctively dodged the punch, both officers dragged him to the ground.

According to Mr. Charles, “Both officers then shot me to the floor as if I was a piece of garbage or punching bag being practiced on, my arms were aggressively placed behind my back, while a knee was implanted in my lower back and my head, and I was then cuffed and brought to my feet by the police yanking on my cuffs.” By this time, there were five to seven police cars surrounding the scene of the incident.

After the ordeal, Mr. Charles was searched and placed in the car for between 30-45 minutes without any explanation of the aggressive behavior directed at him. The officer who tried to open the car door sat in the car deliberating fines with his colleague and simply told Mr. Charles that “you will think twice next time I ask you for ID.” He later received the ticket of $144, which he will now contest.

The next day, Mr. Charles had to go to the hospital to tend to his injuries.

“It is unthinkable that in 2010, a Black man in North America can be fined for wandering without being able to justify his presence,” said CRARR's Executive Director Fo Niemi. “Those who remember history will wonder whether Jim Crow is still alive in our city.”

CRARR will assist Mr. Charles in filing complaints with the Police Ethics Commissioner and the Quebec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission. A community mobilization initiative will also be taking place in May.

The case made national and international coverage. See: