Black Montreal lawyer says protocol not followed during traffic stop, intends to file complaint

As a lawyer, Kwadwo D. Yeboah says he's aware of the proper protocols in situations like these, and says they weren't followed.
Click to play video: 'Montreal lawyer upset over police actions during traffic stop' Montreal lawyer upset over police actions during traffic stop
WATCH: A Montreal lawyer is speaking out after police officers detained him for twenty minutes during a traffic stop. He claims he was accused of driving with a fake licence and a video of the incident has been widely viewed and shared online. As Global’s Benson Cook reports, many are accusing police of racial profiling. – Feb 1, 2021

A lawyer is filing complaints with Montreal police (SPVM) and Quebec’s Human Rights Commission after a dramatic encounter with police during a traffic stop last Thursday, some of which was captured on video.

Kwadwo D. Yeboah, who is Black, told Global News he was driving in his wife’s car with his daughter through downtown Montreal when an officer pulled him over. Yeboah says the officer mistakenly believed he had been using his cellphone while driving, when it was actually his daughter who had picked up his ringing phone for him.

“I proceeded to give him my driver’s licence first, and then I searched for the registration,” Yeboah said. “Because it’s not the car I usually use, I didn’t know where it was.”

Read more: Montreal police accused of racial profiling after arresting 24-year-old man

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The officer suggested he check his email for digital proof of insurance, and then returned to his patrol car with Yeboah’s licence. After a few minutes, Yeboah found an email with proof of the car’s insurance, and he stepped out of his car to show the officer. That, he says, is when the situation escalated.

“The minute I got up, I just did one step, he grabbed my right hand, twisted it over my back, and said, ‘You’re under arrest for giving me a fake driver’s licence,'” Yeboah said, adding that he “was really shocked.”

This prompted his daughter, Kenya, to exit the car, too, and begin filming, at her father’s behest.

“They shouted at her to go back in the car and sit down,” Yeboah said. “And I said, ‘No, stay outside and film, because you’re allowed to film them.'”

Kenya, herself about to become old enough to drive, said the reaction from police didn’t seem warranted by the situation and left her feeling shaken.

“This does, like, stress me out, and I don’t want that to happen to me or anyone else,” she said.

In the end, around 20 minutes after he was first pulled over, police released Yeboah from handcuffs and handed him a ticket for driving while using his cellphone. Yeboah says he intends to challenge that ticket.

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Read more: Montreal man dissatisfied with sanctions against city’s police

He says his licence is not fake, and he’s not sure why or how the officer determined otherwise. In any case, as a lawyer, he’s aware of the proper protocols in situations like these, and says they weren’t followed.

“If he really deemed that my licence was fake, the procedure would have been to seize the licence,” he said. “He would’ve seized the licence, kept it, done his investigation, called the SAAQ, (and found) out if it’s fake or not.”

Montreal police declined to comment.

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