Charges dropped against man accused of disarming, attacking Montreal police officer

·2 min read

MONTREAL — Prosecutors on Wednesday dropped all charges against a Montreal man accused of attacking a police officer last week after evidence surfaced exonerating him.

Quebec's prosecution service said in a statement it no longer believes it's possible to support the accusations against Mamadi III Fara Camara, who had been charged with attempted murder and three other offences. It declined to provide additional details.

Camara's lawyer, Cedric Materne, said there was significant evidence, including a video, that Camara did not commit the alleged offences, which also included aggravated assault of a peace officer, disarming a peace officer and illegally discharging a firearm.

Materne said in an interview that in the face of the evidence, the prosecution was not convinced that the case against his client was strong enough to take to trial, and Camara was freed after nearly a week in detention.

The unusual twist prompted Lionel Perez, leader of the opposition at Montreal city hall, to call for an investigation.

"Considering the seriousness of the charges and the turn of events today, we must have an independent investigation to explain what happened during this intervention by the (Montreal police)," Perez wrote on Twitter.

Materne said Camara and his family were relieved when prosecutors announced the charges had been stayed during what was originally scheduled to be a bail hearing.

He said it was a surreal experience for his client, who had been detained since his Jan. 28 arrest, to be freed immediately in the courtroom. "He was really, really, really happy," the lawyer said.

Camara was arrested after a police officer was allegedly disarmed and attacked after a traffic stop in Montreal's Parc-Extension borough. Police originally said the officer had been shot but later withdrew that claim.

On Wednesday evening, Montreal police directed a request for comment to Quebec's prosecution service and declined to say whether the investigation into the alleged attack on the officer remains ongoing.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2021.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misspelled the first name of lawyer Cedric Materne.