Black man, suspected of stealing his own car, sues Montreal cops
Video footage of the arrest shows Brice Dossa yelling at the plainclothes officers, demanding to know why they handcuffed him before making sure the car was his, inquiring if it was because he's Black.
A Black man handcuffed and detained by officers in Montreal, Canada, who believed he had stolen his vehicle is suing the police department and the two who arrested him for $125,000.
On Tuesday, Brice Dossa, 44, filed the lawsuit, alleging he was subjected to racial profiling, excessive force and unlawful arrest and detention during the “humiliating” incident last fall. According to The Canadian Press, he has also filed a grievance with the police ethics commission.
“We think racial profiling played a role in that arrest,” said Dossa’s lawyer, Fernando Belton, CBC News reported, “in how fast the arrest went down and how little verification was done before he was arrested.”
Named as defendants in Dossa’s action are the city of Montreal, the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) and officers Simon Bolduc and Simon Thibault-Pelletier, according to CBC News.
The Canadian Press reported that a video of the Nov. 3 arrest, which took place in the parking lot of a Montreal shopping center, was extensively posted on social media. In the footage, Dossa yells at the plainclothes officers, demanding to know why they handcuffed him before making sure the car belonged to him, inquiring if it was because he is Black.
In light of the case still pending in court, Montreal police declined to comment. However, they sent several tweets in November in response to the Dossa video.
According to the tweets, two auto theft detectives discovered an abandoned Honda SUV in a mall parking lot that had damage to one of its locks consistent with attempts to steal it. The individual who came to take possession was momentarily imprisoned for “investigative purposes” before being unconditionally released, officials claimed. However, Dossa claims in his suit there are no marks on his 2021 Honda CRV.
His court document states that the officers did not have the handcuff keys and had to ask their fellow officers to provide a set, forcing him to remain detained after being cleared.
Dossa used to work as an orderly and an Uber driver, but he claims post-traumatic stress disorder has prevented him from working since the incident. He is a permanent resident of Quebec but has no family there. He had to return to his home nation of Benin in February to get emotional support from his parents.
Malyka Jean-Baptiste, another lawyer for Dossa, stated that the police never apologized to her client. Dossa requests $125,000 in damages from the city, the department and the officers involved.
“You have people who were saying: ‘It’s nothing, you know, you’ve been arrested, you’ll be cuffed. Why don’t you just get over it?'” Belton told CBC. “I think those kind of comments tend to undermine the issue of racial profiling and the trauma it can leave.”
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