Canada: Police disciplinary hearing ordered for officer who pulled over controversial landlord - PressFrom - Canada
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CanadaPolice disciplinary hearing ordered for officer who pulled over controversial landlord

23:01  21 july  2019
23:01  21 july  2019 Source:   edmontonjournal.com

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Police disciplinary hearing ordered for officer who pulled over controversial landlord © Larry Wong Larry Wong Abdullah Shah in October 2018.

Controversial inner city landlord Abdullah Shah has successfully appealed part of a complaint against a group of police officers he alleges stopped him improperly.

Shah, also known as Carmen Pervez, was detained by a group of officers while driving his truck in early 2017.

Shah alleges the entire 13-minute stop was inappropriate. Specifically, he claims the officers improperly threatened to search his vehicle, detained a passenger and made racially loaded comments.

Shah complained to Edmonton’s former police chief about the four officers, making eight allegations.

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The chief, who is responsible for disciplining officers, dismissed all but one, letting an officer off with a warning.

Then, last year, Shah appealed to the Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board (LERB), an independent organization that reviews complaints against police.

The review board — in a decision released last week — ordered the current chief to hold a disciplinary hearing on one of Shah’s charges.

“The board is concerned that a police officer advising a civilian that he has the power to proceed with an arrest and a search without a warrant, when he did not have the lawful authority to do so, could potentially cause an unknowing civilian to consent to or comply with an otherwise unreasonable or unjustifiable search,” the board wrote.

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The Law Enforcement Review Board appeal is one of three in which Shah is involved. In an earlier complaint , Shah claimed that police were harassing him, his employees and people who live in his properties. He could not be reached for comment.

According to the LERB decision, officers with the violence reduction section of a police community action team stopped Shah on Feb. 3, 2017, while he was in his truck with three associates. Two of those people left the vehicle and were not stopped by police.

Shah said he was parked in a parking lot, while the officers claimed he had stopped in a no-stopping zone.

Two officers approached the truck and asked to see Shah’s ID, which he produced. When Shah asked why he was being stopped, one of the officers, Const. M. Zacharuk, allegedly replied “because I can” (the constable disputes that he said this).

Zacharuk then asked for permission to search the vehicle, which Shah refused. The officer allegedly told Shah that because he had a weapons ban and was required to submit his cellphone to police on demand, he could arrest him.

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Shah again refused the warrantless search and said his phone could only be searched if police suspected drug activity, to which the officer allegedly replied, “I’m suspecting a lot of things.”

After that, Shah alleges the officer “berated him with racially loaded comments.” According to the LERB decision, those comments included a reference to “fancy cars” that Shah had previously driven. Shah also claims the officer said “you f—— come to this country … you will see a lot of me” and “it’s people like you that come to this country that I hate.”

The search never happened and Shah was allowed to leave. An investigation later found that the no-stopping zone in which Shah’s vehicle was parked was not in effect at the time of the traffic stop.

The former police chief opted to dismiss all but one of Shah’s complaints after an internal investigation, deciding that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict any of the officers of misconduct under the Police Act. However, the chief did cite one of the officers for discreditable conduct, issuing a warning.

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The LERB found the police chief was within his rights to dismiss the complaints for lack of evidence, with one exception: it ordered Zacharuk be charged with unlawful exercise of authority for “falsely stating” he could search Shah’s vehicle and arrest him without a warrant.

Both the board and chief found they were unable to corroborate the alleged racist comments, which the officer denies making. One of the officers recalled hearing a comment about fancy cars. The passenger in Shah’s vehicle, identified as DH, could not be located during the investigation.

The LERB can only overturn a chief’s decision when an internal police investigation is found to be flawed or obviously inadequate.

Shah was jailed earlier this year on charges including aggravated assault for two alleged attacks on a man. He has since been released with his next appearance scheduled for Sept. 18.

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