Two Surrey brothers roughed up during mistaken-identity arrest

Published: December 19, 2013
Surrey

Ehsan Naderi was shocked when a Surrey police officer appeared at his door with a gun pointed at him. Ehsan and his brother Amir say they were roughed up and arrested – in full view of their neighbours – in a case of mistaken identity. KEVIN HILL , Surrey Now

TOM ZYTARUK
SURREY NOW

SURREY, B.C. — Two Surrey brothers have lodged a complaint against the RCMP after being arrested at gunpoint in a case of mistaken identity at their house in Port Mann last Thursday night.

Police were responding to a call about a suicidal man with access to firearms. They had the right address, but didn’t realize the man they were looking for no longer lived there, as the Naderi brothers had bought the house about a month ago.

Ehsan Naderi, 29, works in a hair salon, and sometimes as a security guard. After arriving at his house in the 14300-block of 115th Avenue, shortly before 9 p.m., he was changing his clothes when he saw police officers in his backyard and went to investigate. When he opened his front door, he said, he was confronted by a police officer, standing about four feet away and pointing a gun at him.

“It wasn’t a small gun, it was a big gun.”

He said he and his brother, Amir Hosein Naderi, 31, were terrorized. Police told them they were responding to a 911 call about a man threatening to kill himself.

Ehsan said he and his brother tried to be helpful but “they weren’t paying attention.”

He said the police threw him against his garage door and then handcuffed him and his brother and put them in the back of separate squad cars. Ehsan was in his bare feet, and there was snow on the ground. “They refused to give me my shoes,” he said.

“Two of them grabbed me and pushed me,” Ehsan said. “All my neighbours were watching me.”

Eventually the police released the brothers. But they’re both concerned what their neighbours think of them now, and want the Surrey RCMP to set the record straight.

“I said, ‘You could kill me by mistake,’” Ehsan said. “You shouldn’t treat all the citizens like that, even though this is Surrey, you know. I was actually really shocked.”

The brothers have lodged a complaint with the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP.

“I would sue if I can,” Ehsan said. “They treated me really badly.”

Amir said he was watching TV when the police came. They pointed a gun at him, too, he said.

“They pushed me down. They didn’t even let me talk, they were so rude.”

The brothers said their ordeal lasted about 15 minutes and it was quite a show for curious neighbours.

“It was very embarrassing,” Amir said. “We are so insulted.”

Roughly an hour later, a police supervisor showed up at their door to apologize, Amir told the Surrey Now.

“After they were done, they were like, ‘Sorry.’”

Amir said he told the officer he wouldn’t accept his apology unless he also went to his neighbours to clear their names, but the cop declined.

Cpl. Bert Paquet, spokesman for the Surrey RCMP, said the staff sergeant in charge of Surrey RCMP’s professional standards unit has since met with the Naderis and the police are “definitely following up” on their concerns.

Paquet said RCMP’s Emergency Response Team was in Surrey at the time, and helped Surrey RCMP with the call. He said a family member had called police about a distraught resident, providing them with the Naderis’ address. The man they were looking for lived there “until very recently,” Paquet said. But police didn’t know that at the time.

Paquet said the brothers were “detained on the direction of ERT members” until their identities could be confirmed.

“We believe we did the right thing, based on what we knew,” he said.

Paquet said the brothers were “not overly co-operative” and spent more time arguing with the officers than listening to directions. He called it an “unfortunate incident” and said the officers, after the dust settled, so to speak, apologized several times.

“It was done, at the scene.”

Paquet said a supervising officer also returned to the Naderis’ house later on, to clarify things.

“They were just insisting that we go tell all the neighbours we had the wrong house.”

Paquet questioned how many doors police would have had to knock on. If someone who lived half a mile away saw what happened, he wondered, would the police have had to tell them, too?

“Realizing there was nothing we could do that would satisfy the demands of these two individuals, our officers decided to leave the location and carry on with real police business for the rest of a busy night.”

Read more Fraser Valley stories at thenownewspaper.com

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