‘This will give us some relief,’ GTA father says about report that found son was arrested unlawfully

A Mississauga man who filed a complaint against a Peel police officer says he welcomes the findings of an independent review that found the officer engaged in serious misconduct by “arbitrarily” arresting his son and making disparaging remarks toward his family.

Nearly seven months after the incident, Bashar Masad says his family is still dealing with the aftermath.

Peel police officers came to his home and arrest his son for causing a disturbance.

“It was a tough experience. It touched almost everyone in my family,” said Masad.

A report from the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) found Const. Bernard Trlaja engaged in “serious misconduct” that day by arresting Massod Masad — Bashar’s son — without legal authority and making disparaging remarks about him and his mother.

An audio recording of the November 2018 incident that was accidentally captured on Massod Masad’s phone contained proof of the officer’s statements.

The OIPRD found that Trlaja was responsible for two types of misconduct: unlawful arrest and discreditable conduct.

“This [report] will give us some kind of relief that it was an unlawful arrest. My son did not do anything,” said Masad.

Arrest stemmed from restaurant altercation

Masood Masad, 25, was arrested after an alleged altercation at a restaurant where he was picking up an order for the delivery service DoorDash.

According to statements in the report, the restaurant owners contacted police.

Const. Bernard Trlaja called his house but Masad’s mother, who was skeptical of the call,  thought it was from a scammer. Trlaja and other officers later came to the home and arrested Masad.

Masad tried to record the arrest on his phone, but police confiscated the device and Trlaja placed it on the front seat of his police cruiser. At some point, Trlaja accidentally restarted the recording, which captured the initial arrest and the trip to the police station.

All charges against Masad were later dropped.

Officer used profanity, insults

The report —  authored by Sylvana Capogreco, the OIPRD’s director — found that Trlaja “used profanity and numerous insults as he spoke with Masood.”

Many of the comments were on the taped recording from Masood’s phone.

Among the officer’s comments:”Now you’re a mouse with your tail stuck between your asshole,” and, “What’s your problem, buddy? Are you retarded?”

He also made other comments about Masood’s mother.

“Forget it, this kid obviously doesn’t understand the rules, the nature and the culture of Canada,” the officer is heard saying at one point.

“During the approximately 16 minutes of recording, Constable Trlaja made numerous disparaging comments to Masood regarding his background and mental capacity, and his mother,” the report reads.

Capogreco also ruled the officer did not have the legal authority to arrest Masood without a warrant for a summary offence and in turn acted “arbitrarily.”

Next steps

CBC Toronto reached out to Peel Regional Police for comment, but was told they wouldn’t be issuing a comment until Wednesday.

The OIPRD has directed the Peel Police chief to hold a hearing on the incident. It’s unclear if a date has been set.

Whenever it takes place, Bashar Masad said he plans to attend.

“From my family side, I really would love to go to the hearing. And I will go,” said Masad.

“I have a few questions that I’ll ask the officer directly.”

Masad is also calling for better sensitivity training for police officers to prevent these kinds of incidents from happening in the future.

“I believe more training and more supervision [is needed] because I’m sure people who are doing this, they did it before,” said Masad.

“We were lucky there was proof [in our case]. I’m sure in other cases people will not have proof.”

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