Peel police officer accused of making racist remarks in audio recording, investigation launched

Click to play video: 'Cellphone recording prompts Peel Police to open internal investigation'
Cellphone recording prompts Peel Police to open internal investigation
WATCH ABOVE: Peel Regional Police are looking into the circumstances surrounding the arrest of a 25-year-old Mississauga man after an officer was accused of making racist remarks. Shallima Maharaj explains – Nov 23, 2018

An audio recording from a 25-year-old Mississauga man’s cellphone has prompted Peel Regional Police to launch an internal investigation.

Masood Masad was arrested on Sunday and charged in connection to a verbal altercation that occurred at a restaurant while he was working for DoorDash, an online food delivery service.

When police arrived, Masad said he told them he was recording them on his phone. Recordings obtained by Global News include exchanges between the man and several officers.

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The lion’s share of the interactions was with an officer who identified himself on the recording as Const. Bernard Trlaja.

Masad told Global News the officer initially phoned his house and his mother answered.

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“One time, she received a scam call where someone had pretended to be an RCMP officer and they said something about her taxes and she needed to pay in two days or risk going to jail. So she assumed it was just another one of these hoax calls,” he said.

“That seemed to really upset him because he was trying to say my mother was arrogant because of that, and the truth is, my mother was just not aware that he was actually a police officer.”

When officers came to speak with him in person, he said he began recording them.

One recording, which appears to have been captured inside the police vehicle, includes the 16-year veteran officer saying:

“We’ve had dealings with you so many times that I said, ‘Forget it, this kid obviously doesn’t understand the rule and nature and culture of Canada?’ OK, he wants to be violent, and bring that violence with him. Then he’s going to have to learn the way.”

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Masad, who came to Canada when he was six years old, said he had never been arrested before.

At one moment during the exchange, the officer asked him, “Are you retarded?”

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“I came to your house with a different — I wanted to do a different approach. But then when I got the arrogance of your mother and I got the arrogance of you…” Trlaja can be heard saying.

Peel Regional Police confirmed to Global News on Friday afternoon that Chief Jennifer Evans has ordered an investigation through the Professional Standards Bureau.

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They said Masad has the option of filing a complaint through the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) as well.

When asked about the recorded exchange, Sgt. Matt Bertram said he could not comment on the conduct of his colleague.

“What anybody said, a friend, a parent or a mother — that has no bearing on how we conduct an investigation,” he told Global News. “We base our investigation on facts.”

Masad said he went from being charged with causing a disturbance to mischief. Peel police told Global News that Const. Trlaja remains on the job, as the review moves forward.

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