Pubdate: Tue, 11 Jul 2017
Source: Metro (Halifax, CN NS)
Copyright: 2017 Metro Canada
Author: Philip Croucher
Page: 5


Custio Clayton alleges racial profiling by Montreal police

A cloud still follows Custio Clayton after one spring night in

The former Olympian turned professional boxer has been in his hometown
of Dartmouth for three weeks now, following his biggest pro victory to
date. But this period of rest and relaxation has been sullied for the
29-year-old father of four.

Clayton says he was racially profiled by Montreal police during a
traffic stop April 4 - during which a veteran officer accused him of
being a drug dealer hiding marijuana inside a 2017 Yukon Denali.

The boxer says the only things found in his rental vehicle were two
baby car seats, a booster seat and his gym bag.

"I've never smoked a day in my life," he said.

More than three months have passed since he was pulled over for "being
Black," Clayton said, and his call for a public apology remains unanswered.

Clayton fights for a living, and he refuses to take a 10-count against
this opponent. He can't.

"I have a reputation," Clayton told Metro. "People look up to me, and
I don't want people to have that doubt, that maybe he was smoking,
maybe he is a drug dealer. I don't want to have that in people's minds.

"It's either they come forward and admit that they were wrong, or I
might have to take legal action."

Metro reached out to Montreal police for comment on Monday but
received no reply by press time. In April, police spokesman Benoit
Boisselle told the Canadian Press the force was aware of the claims
but he wasn't prepared to comment.

Clayton relayed the story to various media outlets after he went
public on Facebook.

His story today doesn't change.

He said that, despite asking repeatedly, a female officer initially
refused to explain why she pulled him over April 4 around 11 p.m.

"Me being a Black guy, and with what was going on in the U.S. - that's
the first thing that came to mind," he said, referring to police
violence south of the border.

"I thought I better chill out for a minute … so I gave her my

Those included papers for the rental, which had Jeep Wrangler written
down as the vehicle. That happened, Clayton said, because he asked for
a bigger vehicle and the employee forgot to change it.

Clayton said about 30 minutes passed before a second police cruiser
showed up. The original officer asked him to hand over his keys and
step outside.

"I did what she asked, and when I stepped out of the car, she grabbed
my left arm and said, 'I'm arresting you .... I believe you are a drug
dealer and there are drugs in the car,'" Clayton said.

"I never in my life had handcuffs on … and the first thing she said to
me is, 'It's not like in the movies, is it?'"

Clayton said he was put in the back of a police cruiser and watched as
about four officers went through his rental.

Another 30 minutes passed before the officer returned.

"She said, 'You know what? I've been a police officer for more than 20
years, and when I had a suspicion and pulled over someone, I was never
wrong ... But I can say that I was wrong,'" he said.

Clayton was allowed to leave with a ticket for having the wrong make
of vehicle on his rental information.

After going public, Montreal media picked up the story. Clayton - an
undefeated middleweight boxer and hero to many in HRM - began to hear
explanations from Montreal police as to why he was stopped. They said
there was a strong smell of marijuana in the vehicle, which matched
the description of an SUV involved in a string of break-ins in the

"I've never had a problem with police officers. I respected them; all
of them are not the same," he said. "But for (Montreal Police) to lie
and say that - that you smelled marijuana - first you're accusing me
of being a drug dealer, which I'm not. Then you're accusing me of
smoking, which I've never done."

Clayton is working with his management team to get his name cleared,
whatever the cost.

"Everyone keeps asking me how far am I going to take this? For me, I
want a public apology … to show that they were wrong," he said.

"It's like a cloud over me. It always comes up now … and I would like
it to go away."
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