Surrey RCMP detain brothers after going to wrong house
A new Surrey, B.C., address came with too much baggage for a pair of brothers last week
Two brothers say they will be filing a formal complaint after being handcuffed and held by police officers who turned up at their Surrey, B.C., home seeking a suicidal caller — who had moved to a different address months before.
Ehsan Naderi, 29, said the humiliating incident began a week ago Thursday night when he looked out the window of the house he shares with his brother on 115 Avenue in North Surrey, and saw police cars lining the street, and officers walking around to the backyard.
He went to the back of the house, where he stuck his head outside and asked an officer if he needed help.
"He told me just come up [to the] front door," Ehsan said.
When Naderi opened the front door, he said he found himself facing four officers, a large flashlight, and a large gun that was pointed at him.
"I was really shocked, just seeing there was a gun pointed at me, so I raised my hand up and I walked as far as I can, far from my home so they see I don't have anything so they don't shoot me," Naderi said. "I was so scared that this guy would just shoot me."
Naderi says after a brief discussion he, and his brother Amir, who had been watching TV inside, were both asked to come out.
Amir says he tried to tell police that, whatever was going on, they had the wrong person.
"They were looking for someone," he said.
Amir said he denied being the person the police officers named and offered to show his ID, but was handcuffed and put in a police cruiser along with Ehsan.
"I said, 'Why? Could you explain to me why?," he said.
Police detained the brothers for around 10 minutes while they verified their identities and searched the house. The brothers said they were then released without being told why they had been handcuffed and detained.
Amir Naderi said he asked again, if they could tell him why this had happened.
"They're like 'No, sorry, it's just a wrongful arrest'," he said.
Police seeking former tenant
Ehsan said a police supervisor did eventually tell them, in a later phone call, that the officers had been looking for a former tenant.
Cpl. Bert Paquet told CBC News that Surrey RCMP officers had been responding to a call about a suicidal man with weapons, and had information that he lived at the Naderis' home.
"The subject we were looking for was not only suicidal and emotionally disturbed, but potentially armed as well. So [we were] acting with our first priority being officer safety and public safety," he said.
"It is truly an unfortunate incident that we're sorry happened," Paquet said. "The moment we were able to confirm their identities … our officers apologized, I believe an investigator or a supervisor attended a few minutes or hours later … again to explain some of the steps that were taken, the reasons why, and to answer some of the questions and concerns that the residents had."
The brothers, who moved into the house Nov. 1, say the apology they received was too late, and too little.
"I don't feel they treated us in the right way, with respect," Amir said.
The brothers also said the officers left muddy footprints in the house, and didn't provide their names or badge numbers when asked.
The brothers said they plan to file a formal complaint, and also say they want officers to explain the mistake to their neighbours.
"It was like a show for my neighbours, I guess. Just imagine how embarrassing it would be," Ehsan Naderi said.
With files from the CBC's Petti Fong, Jason Proctor and Meera Bains