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CMLA Statement Regarding April 21, 2023 Arrest in Edmonton, Alberta

April 27, 2023

The Canadian Muslim Lawyers’ Association (CMLA) is concerned about the arrest of an Edmonton man on Eid day, who was allegedly subjected to excessive force by Edmonton Police Service constables.

On April 21st, 2023, a Black, visibly Muslim man was leaving Friday prayer on Eid day with his family when a constable pulled him over for going above the speeding limit. The man requested to have a supervisor present before providing his license. According to the reports from the National Council of Canadian Muslims, the constable opened the car door and violently threw the victim out of the car before placing him under arrest. While restraining him, another constable placed his knee on the back of the victim’s neck. The victim suffered several injuries as a result of the arrest. We understand that the victim and his family, including his young children, continue to suffer mental distress following this event. The victim was dressed in cultural attire and was visibly Muslim.

At no time was the victim told why he was being placed under arrest, and no criminal charges were laid. According to Section 10(a) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a person is entitled to be promptly informed of the reason for their arrest. Further, according to the Criminal Code, police force must be used only when necessary and excessive force is prohibited. The CMLA also notes that section 38(1)(a)(iii) of the Police Act, requires all police officers the duty to encourage and foster a cooperative relationship between police services and members of the community.

The CMLA condemns acts of unnecessary violence against the public. Stopping an individual for speeding should not end in the police putting their knee on that individual’s neck.

CMLA continues to be troubled by the prevalence of Islamophobia and anti-Black racism that continues across the country. There has been a rise in hate-related attacks against Muslims in Alberta specifically in the past two years.

In light of these serious allegations, we call upon the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation with the interests of justice in mind. It is in everyone’s interest to ensure that laws are applied equally and equitably, including to police conduct.

CMLA stands ready to assist the community with any assistance or resources it can provide.

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