Police ethics board makes decision in racial-profiling case
Mark Wiles-Simpson filed complaint after Montreal police admitted they had wrong suspect
Const. Marc-Antoine Goyette of Montreal police received two days' suspension after the police ethics commission found that he lied to a judge regarding the arrest of Mark Wiles-Simpson.
Fo Niemi, the director of the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations, said it's a step in the right direction but doesn't do much to restore the accused's reputation or restore members of the public's faith in the police.
"I think its an acknowledgement that something very wrong took place and that Mr. Wiles-Simpson had to pay for this officer's conduct and even mistakes of, in this case, an illegal nature," Niemi said.
"This police officer... [tarnished] the reputation of Mr. Wiles-Simpson as if he were a criminal robbing, or stealing, from a liquor store which was clearly a case of mistaken identity, so two days? I think the public is more intelligent than that and they'll look at this and say, 'Is this really credible, this police ethics system?'"
Wiles-Simpson was arrested in 2012 near Côte-Vertu Metro station after police wrongly identified him as a suspect thought to be stealing merchandise from a nearby liquor store.
A cellphone video of the arrest — which can be viewed here — shows several police officers on top of the then-19-year-old Wiles-Simpson as he asks for an explanation as to why he is being arrested.
During the incident, the arresting officer told him he was being detained for theft.
"All I heard is to be still and stop resisting," said Wiles-Simpson shortly after his arrest. "But all I did was yell in pain and in shock since I had no clue of what was going on."
Authorities later admitted Wiles-Simpson was not the man they were looking for, but he was charged with resisting the arrest.
The police ethics commission, which met earlier in May, evaluated four charges made against Goyette in a formal complaint.
The commission found the officer lied in court about a suspect description and that he did not exercise proper discretion in arresting Wiles-Simpson.
Goyette was acquitted of obstructing justice and failing to presume the suspect was innocent.
Wiles-Simpson was acquitted of all charges in 2014.