Montreal·CBC Investigates

Longueuil police threaten man with arrest for filing complaint

Longueuil police discouraged a merchant from filing a complaint, telling him he would be charged with mischief if he pursued the issue further, according to an audio recording obtained by CBC Montreal.

‘I won’t be very tempted to take your complaint,’ officer is heard saying on recording

Kashif Inayat, who runs a vape stall at a flea market in Longueuil, says a customer threatened to kill him last month, but he ended up getting arrested. (CBC)

A shopkeeper in Longueuil who called police after he says a customer threatened to kill him ended up getting arrested himself — for assault with a weapon.

Police then discouraged the merchant from filing a complaint, telling him he would be charged with mischief if he pursued the issue further, according to an audio recording obtained by CBC Montreal.

I found that this guy was very, very badly treated — no respect, didn't leave him a chance to say his name.- Sherry-Lee Noël, manager of flea market where incident took place

In the recording, the shopkeeper, Kashif Inayat, is heard greeting a female officer and explaining he'd like to file a complaint — but the officer told him there would be consequences if he pursued it any further.

"Sir, when you sign [your complaint], we are going to arrest you and in the dossier we are going to tell the prosecutor your complaint is not founded," she can be heard telling Inayat.

Inayat said the conversation occurred after his release on the evening of his arrest, when he decided to go to the police station and make sure they heard him out.

'I've got the proof'

After the female police officer tells him he would be arrested again for mischief for filing the complaint, a second male officer joins in.

"Honestly, think about it," he tells Inayat. "I'm going to tell you immediately, I won't be very tempted to take your complaint."

On the audio recording, an officer is also heard stating he watched video surveillance of the incident, and the only one getting upset is Inayat.

Inayat says he would call the Sûreté du Québec to tell them "you are pushing me not to file a complaint."

The officers deny that charge.

"We're legally obliged," the female officer explains. "Sir, we are telling you what is going to happen because it's so absurd that we will be forced to arrest you. So we tell you that if you lie to us in front of us and you write that."

"I'm not lying, I've got the proof," Inayat interjects.

"It's a lie," the female officer replies.

In the end, Inayat wound up filing a complaint about the customer without getting arrested and left the premises.

Police respond

Longueuil police Const. Tommy Lacroix says the customer was also eventually arrested for uttering threats. (CBC)
Longueuil Police would not comment on the audio recording.

But Const. Tommy Lacroix told CBC that, ultimately, the customer was also arrested for uttering threats.

"When police arrived they met with both parties," Lacroix said.

"We had some testimonies about the storekeeper who would have attacked the customer, and threatened him also with an object"

Lacroix would not state what that object was and Inayat denied the existence of a weapon.

Lacroix said both parties have agreed to appear in court. Inayat said his court date is in March.

'Handcuffed in front of all the market'

On Oct. 24, Inayat said a customer stopped by the vape stall he runs at a flea market in Longueuil and asked for a replacement for a damaged piece of equipment he had purchased two months ago.

Kashif Inayat says some of the items at his vape stall were damaged during the altercation. (CBC)
Inayat told the man he doesn't offer replacements for merchandise sold more than a month ago. The customer was not pleased.

The customer began speaking aggressively, and Inayat told him he could help, but only if the customer calmed down, Inayat told CBC.

At that point, he said the customer started shaking his glass counter.

Inayat said his cell phone, as well as a couple of vaping instruments, fell off and were damaged.

In response, he stood in front of the counter and pushed the customer back

Inayat said a security guard from the market heard the noise, showed up, and separated the two men.

He then called Longueuil police and explained he'd been threatened.

Once police showed up, he said the customer's wife ran to speak to them, and they proceeded to arrest Inayat.

"I was handcuffed in front of all the market," Inayat recalled.

He was taken to a police car, he said, where he was charged with assault with a weapon, and let go with a promise to appear in court.

Inayat claims store damaged

Sherry-Lee Noël, who manages the flea market in Longueuil, says Kashif Inayat was treated with 'no respect.' (CBC)
Inayat went to the station later that evening. In the recording, he is heard explaining to police that the customer broke his phone and instruments.

The female officer told him nothing appeared to be damaged.

"He [the male officer] looked everywhere, there was no glass, there was nothing broken," she says.

The police are also heard saying they spoke to three witnesses who confirmed the customer's version of events.

'No respect'

Kashif Inayat put CBC in touch with two witnesses of his own — his sister Iqra Inayat and the flea market's manager, Sherry-Lee Noël.

Both said they did not see the initial altercation, but arrived as police did. And both said they saw the broken instruments on the floor.

Inayat said her brother may not have had a chance to properly express himself during the arrest.

"French is his third language," she said,

"Obviously when you're in this situation, even the little bit of French you know in your mind, it goes away."

For her part, Noël said she saw Kashif get arrested. She said he didn't get a chance to tell police his side of the story.

"I found that this guy was very, very badly treated — no respect, didn't leave him a chance to say his name," she said.