When Brice Doussa left a Montreal McDonald’s last week and tried to get into his car, he didn’t expect to end up in handcuffs.
And he certainly didn’t expect that, despite confirming his innocence, officers wouldn’t uncuff him right away — because they didn’t have the key.
“I feel traumatized. Humiliated. My human rights [have] been violated. And right now, I don’t feel safe around police officers anymore,” Doussa told CTV Montreal on Saturday.
On Thursday, plainclothes Montreal police officers detained Doussa, a Black man, who they suspected of stealing his own vehicle.
But when the time came, the officers didn’t have the key to uncuff him.
“I asked them, ‘so, it’s my car. Why am I still being handcuffed? Is it because I’m a Black man?’” Doussa recounted.
The key was eventually delivered and Doussa was released without charges.
A video of a handcuffed Doussa circulated widely on social media, prompting outrage from activists, elected officials and the Montreal community.
A still image of a video showing a plainclothes Montreal police officer with a man in handcuffs during an investigation into a stolen vehicle. (Source: Instagram)
The video does not show the circumstances leading up to the detainment. But according to Doussa, he was caught completely off guard, alleging police gave him little to no information on what was going on.
“I saw a gentleman come from behind, pulling my right hand at the back. [I said], ‘What’s going on here?’” he recounted.
“The police did not introduce themselves, and say ‘I’m police, I’m here for this and that. Give me the papers of the vehicle.’ They didn’t ask anything. They just harassed me, aggressively, handcuffed me, without even telling me what is happening.”
A Tweet from the Montreal police service (SPVM) claims the vehicle lock showed “typical and obvious attempted theft marks,” prompting officers to investigate.
“Before they could finish their checks, a citizen walked up to it to take possession of it,” another Tweet reads.
“It was at this time that he was temporarily detained for investigation by the two police officers. The citizen was released unconditionally and without charge once the checks were completed.”
The SPVM is now conducting a probe into the circumstances surrounding the event.
Quebec’s public safety minister, François Bonnardel, is also looking into the incident, his office said in a statement over the weekend.
Doussa says the experience left him with deep scars and he hopes to see consequences for the people involved.
“This cannot be [swept] under the carpet.”
With files from CTV News’ Joe Lofaro and Luca Caruso-Moro.
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