Windsor police chief apologizes to Muslim woman

Windsor’s police chief has made a public apology to the local Muslim community for the “embarrassment” caused by his tactical officers when they conducted an arrest operation. The head of the city’s police union is unrepentant.

“In my belief, this isn’t a cultural issue,” said Constable Ed Parent, president of the Windsor Police Association. “These officers had a warrant to arrest someone. They went in, and they arrested this person.”

The controversy stems from arrests made by the Windsor police tactical team last month. On Oct. 31, the team acted on a request by the RCMP and FBI to arrest Windsor residents Mohammad Al-Sahli, 33, and Yassir Ali Khan, 30, in connection with a radical Islamic group based in Detroit.

According to Patrick Ducharme, the lawyer for the two accused, the officers “patted down” a Muslim woman –Mr. Khan’s wife — who was not a part of the arrest warrant. “It was never the intention for Windsor police officers to offend or embarrass the families of our Islamic community,” wrote Police Chief Gary Smith yesterday. “The actions taken did cause embarrassment and did offend their religious beliefs. I sincerely apologize to the families and the Islamic community.”

A review of the incident highlighted the need for additional “cultural sensitivity training,” a news release said.