Wrongly Accused Quebec Man Returns to Court as Witness in Cop Attack Trial

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Two years ago, a Montreal resident named Mamadi Camara found himself wrongly accused of attempting to murder a police officer. On Tuesday, he returned to court, not as defendant but as a witness against the real suspect.

The incident in question unfolded during a nighttime traffic stop on January 28, 2021. As Officer Sanjay Vig of the Montreal police was ticketing Camara, an unexpected attack took place. A shadowy figure emerged from the dark, assaulting the officer from behind.

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Camara, despite being a new focal point in this unexpected and violent scene, promptly dialed 911— the first person to do so. In the courtroom, a recording of his call was replayed. During his frantic report, Camara narrated to the operator how the attacked officer fled the scene, leaving his patrol car behind and a gunshot echoing in the night.

But the narrative quickly twisted when Camara, readying to leave the scene, found himself the focus of drawn police guns. OfficervVig, having been assaulted, had incorrectly identified Camara as his attacker. Their common race – both men were Black – seemed to have caused the unfortunate misidentification.

Camara spent almost a week in jail before the police realized their mistake and arrested the actual suspect—Ali Ngarukiye.

In his testimony for the prosecution, Camara spoke about the harrowing events he witnessed that day, his own brutal arrest included. He also emphasized during cross-examination the role of racial profiling in his wrongful arrest, dismissing it as anything other than a grievous police error.

Now, the spotlight is on Ngarukiye, who stands trial for the attempted murder of Officer Vig. The Crown, in its opening statement, declared its intention to prove a premeditated attack on the part of the accused. It revealed details of the accused’s scheming, which allegedly included the theft of several vehicles for a possible getaway. Fingerprints combined with DNA evidence, led to Ngarukiye’s arrest in Ontario.

Pleading not guilty, Ngarukiye is defended by lawyers Moana Franco and Sharon Sandiford, specialists in cases of racial profiling. The jury has been forewarned that the complex case is expected to span at least three months.