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Montreal Police Are Accused Of Racial Profiling After Video Of An Incident Went Viral

One of the officers wasn't wearing a mask in the video.

In a widely-shared Instagram video, two Montreal police officers, one without a mask on, can be seen detaining a man named Andy Basora while he stood at his doorstep on Sunday, January 17.*

The SPVM told MTL Blog that the officers approached Basora because they "saw a resemblance" between his jacket and one reported stolen in a robbery that allegedly took place on December 19, 2020.

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If my client was white and if his brother was white, would he have been stopped in the same way, with the same force?

Fernando Belton

According to the SPVM statement, police established that Basora "is not the wanted suspect and has no involvement with the event." But now Basora's legal representation, Fernando Belton, is arguing that his client was racially profiled.

The video shows the two officers approach Basora in front of his home.

The maskless officer asks him to come with them before both officers take him by the arms to a nearby police vehicle.

"As my client was entering his home, that's when the police officer came to him and said 'come with me now'," Me. Belton told MTL Blog.

"This was the first problem with the intervention — first, my client was at his home. Second, for no apparent reason, the police said 'I'll answer all your questions but collaborate with me.'" 

The lawyer is now asking whether this officer stopped everyone who was wearing a red coat.

As for the officer's lack of face covering, the SPVM says that it "asks its personnel to wear it during their interventions," but claims that in "certain situations that require rapid and immediate intervention, this may not always be possible." 

Me. Belton, however, argues that the officer "doesn't care" and put his client's life in danger. 

"If my client wasn't wearing a mask, that police officer could've given him a ticket. It's himself that's breaking the laws that he's supposed to enforce," said Me. Belton.

*This article has been updated.