African-American man alleges racial profiling by police in West Island

What started out as dinner with a friend at a Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue establishment ended with Jason Withrow being stopped by police shortly after getting into his car, handcuffed, charged with refusing a breathalyzer test and left stranded in freezing temperatures after his car was impounded.

Withrow, who is African-American, does not drink alcohol. Originally from North Carolina, he came to Montreal four years ago from New York and speaks only limited French. His case was highlighted on Sunday at a news conference by the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR). Executive director Fo Niemi said the centre receives a call about racial profiling once a month.

Withrow and his mother, Teresia Withrow, speaking from her home in Charlotte, N.C., are appealing to Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante and to Michelle Obama, who is set to speak in Montreal on Monday, to denounce racial profiling and dangers faced by black men in encounters with police.

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