Toronto

'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.

Peel officer made disparaging comments about his son's background, mental capacity, independent review found

Bashar Masad filed a complaint against a Peel police officer after his son was arrested. An independent review has now found the arrest was unlawful and the officer engaged in discreditable conduct. (Farrah Merali/CBC News)

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.

Bashar Masad, left, and his son Masood Masad. The Masad family spoke to CBC Toronto in December 2018 after Masood was arrested. (CBC)

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

Peel Regional Police says it takes any misconduct "very seriously and strongly feel that police officers must be held accountable" to a higher standard.

"A Police Service Act hearing will be held regarding the findings from the OIPRD investigation with a date to be set in the fall," Sgt. Joe Cardi said in an email to CBC Toronto.

Bashar Masad says he plans to attend the hearing.

"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."

About the Author

Farrah Merali is a reporter with CBC Toronto with a passion for politics and urban health issues. She previously worked as the early morning reporter at CBC Vancouver. Follow her at @FarrahMerali