Suspect in custody for assaulting Montreal police officer in case that led to wrongful arrest

Montreal police say the man responsible for attacking a police officer during a routine traffic stop back in January has been arrested in Toronto.

Police say 21-year-old Ali Ngarukiye had been on the run and, after an arrest warrant was approved in a Montreal courthouse, was taken into custody on Thursday.

Ngarukiye’s arrest comes nearly two months after Mamadi Ill Camara was wrongfully charged with attempted murder of a police officer.

Camara was detained for six nights until footage from Transports Quebec cameras showed another individual striking the officer.

Ngarukiye is expected to appear in court on Friday to face several charges including attempted murder, aggravated assault against a police officer, disarming an officer and discharging a firearm.

WATCH | Montreal police announce arrest: 

Montreal police Insp. David Shane thanks the law enforcement agencies involved in arresting the man they believe attacked an officer in January. 2:22

He will also be charged with two counts of auto theft, police say. 

Ngarukiye is expected to arrive in the Montreal area on Friday, before his court appearance.

Ngarukiye’s address is listed as unknown on the arrest warrant, and police did not say on Thursday afternoon where he lives.

Searches are underway at the location of Ngarukiye’s arrest and at places he frequented in Montreal, Insp. David Shane said.

Police say the arrest was carried out in partnership with Ontario Provincial Police, Durham Regional Police and Toronto police. Shane said several specialized personnel, investigators and neighbourhood stations also assisted in the investigation. 

Police are not revealing further details of the investigation and evidence collected. But Shane said DNA evidence of the injured police officer, Const. Sanjay Vig, was found on objects in the suspect’s possession.

The gun taken from Vig has not been found. Shane said Ngarukiye has a criminal record for fraud in Ontario.

Camara, a 31-year-old PhD student, was cleared by DNA evidence and Montreal Police Chief Sylvain Caron issued a public apology.

While police insisted Camara’s arrest was not due to racial profiling, his case spurred protests and outcries from activists saying it was part of a larger pattern of inequality.

Soon after Camara was exonerated, about 200 people gathered near Montreal police headquarters to protest racial profiling and police brutality.

“We hope this arrest will, we hope, help restore a sense of tranquillity and peace for the victims, Agent Vig, and the population of Montreal,” Shane said on Thursday afternoon.

“We also have a special thought for Mr. Camara. We hope that the arrest of the real suspect in this case will allow him to close a chapter on this event which had important consequences for him as well.”

A woman holds up a sign of support for Mamadi Camara during a demonstration against police violence in Montreal in February. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Camara has spoken publicly about the arrest, describing the fear he felt during those six nights in detention and the relief of being exonerated — finally able to return to freedom alongside his pregnant wife.

“If they had listened to my story, maybe it wouldn’t have been six days,” Camara said on Radio-Canada’s Tout le monde en parle back in February.

“It was a relief to my entire family,” he said about his eventual exoneration. “For those six days I was never allowed to speak to my family. Never.”

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