Black Montreal teacher alleges police abuse



A black Montreal high school teacher arrested while waiting for takeout food has accused police of racial profiling and abuse.

Farid Charles, 26, said he lives his life "by the books" and can't believe how police treated him last Thursday night, when he and a friend went to get takeout food at a Caribbean restaurant in the southern borough of LaSalle.

"I feel dehumanized, I feel assaulted," he said.

Montreal police have defended their actions and say it's unfair to hurl accusations of racial profiling every time a member of a visible minority is apprehended.

Charles said it was close to midnight on April 8 when he and a friend went to the Caribbean restaurant to pick up food. Charles said he was sitting in his friend's car, waiting for him, when a police cruiser pulled up.

When an officer asked him for the car's licence and registration, Charles said he told them the car belonged to his friend, who was in the restaurant.
Yanked out of car

That's when Charles said one of the officers opened the passenger door and yanked him outside.

"As I stood up, his fellow officer threw a punch," he said. "I moved my head toward the left and, the next thing you know, I'm being shot to the floor like I was a punching bag."

Charles said he was detained for 20 minutes before he was fined $144 for loitering. He believes he was targeted because he was black.

"I feel as if, even though I did the right thing, I felt as if I was a criminal," said Charles. "And I don't think I should be feeling that feeling, especially as I haven't [committed any crime]."

Police say Charles was unhelpful when police talked to him.

"If the person co-operates, they'll be free within five minutes and nothing's going to happen," said Insp. Paul Chablo. "But if you decide to contest and challenge the police officer, you'll end up getting arrested.

Officers got involved because it was late at night, the car had no licence plate and the area is known for break-ins, Chablo said.

Charles said he is considering filing a formal complaint with the Quebec Human Rights Commission. He said he has always encouraged his students to co-operate with police, but his faith in police has been shaken.