MONTREAL –A professional boxer and former Canadian Olympian claims he was the victim of racial profiling when he was pulled over and detained by Montreal police on Tuesday.
Custio Clayton, 29, says a police officer accused him of being a drug dealer, handcuffed him and placed him in the back of a squad car while she searched his vehicle.
“I guess seeing a black guy driving a big car, that has to be the reason why,” he said on Wednesday during an interview with The Canadian Press.
The native of Dartmouth, N.S., who has lived and trained in Montreal since 2014, said he was humiliated.
“I always try to do the right thing,” Clayton said. “Even though you try to stick to yourself and try to do the right thing, some people are always going to look at you the way they want to look at you and that’s what I feel happened yesterday.”
Clayton had just returned from training in Cornwall, Ont. and was minutes from home when he was stopped.
He was driving a courtesy car –a new rental SUV supplied by his insurance company.
The officer initially refused to tell him why she had stopped his vehicle, he said.
He said she eventually told him he was under arrest for suspicion of being a drug dealer and having drugs in his car.
“I didn’t know what to say anymore,” said Clayton.
The father of four said he sat handcuffed in a police car while she searched his vehicle, finding only child car seats and boxing gear.
“This is the first time in my life that I’ve had handcuffs on and been accused of something that I know I’m not,” Clayton said he’d told the officer.
Clayton said the female officer was apologetic after her search turned up empty and told him it was the first time she’d been wrong in 20 years of policing.
She gave him a ticket for having improper paperwork for the rental and let him go.
Montreal police spokesman Benoit Boisselle said the force is aware of the claims but he wasn’t prepared to comment.
“For now, we have to look at everything that happened in that incident,” he said.
Undefeated since turning pro in 2014, Clayton just missed out on a medal at the 2012 Olympics in London.
He is scheduled to fight next week in Cornwall, and said his focus is on that fight.