Montreal doctor says he was 'brutally' tackled by police at home over parking ticket
MONTREAL -- Montreal police tackled a 54-year-old local doctor to the floor in his own home this week over a parking ticket, the doctor says.
“They threw my wife to the wall, they dragged me on the floor,” Farshid Razaghi told CTV News on Wednesday, a day after what he called a needlessly violent attack.
It all started when Razaghi, who teaches in McGill’s medical school, went with his wife to pick up their six-year-old daughter at school in the Town of Mount Royal on Tuesday.
Razaghi’s wife went inside while he parked with flashers, but in a no-parking zone.
One of TMR’s public security officers came over and told Razaghi he’d taken down his licence plate number and was ticketing him, in Razaghi’s account. He told him to move.
A brief argument ensued, the doctor said—he at first said he’d just stay in the spot, since he’d already been ticketed. The officer said he’d call a tow truck, and Razaghi said something like “go ahead,” he recalled.
He then moved the car to a permitted spot, but the guard followed. He told the couple that Razaghi had “threatened” him, he said. Razaghi said he had only invited the man to call a tow truck, as he’d said he would.
The family went home, thinking no more of it.
An hour later, three police cars from Montreal police pulled up in front of the family’s Mount-Royal house.
“They actually entered the premises of the house, past the door,” Razaghi said. He said they told him “you threatened one of our colleagues.”
He asked if they had a warrant or any documents with them, and they didn’t show him any.
“Their voices were getting louder and louder and more intimidating, and my daughters, ages 11 and six years old, were standing there watching me, crying,” he said.
The officers then “brutally... attacked me,” he said. “They put me on the floor, they handcuffed me.”
He has what he described as a “deformed” leg after a paralysis earlier in life, as well as a back problem that has left him with two steel rods in his back.
His wife tried to intervene and the officers also violently pushed her back, he said.
Dragging him through his hallway with the handcuffs on, they pulled him outside and to a police car, where they made him sign papers promising to appear in court.
Razaghi faces a charge of threatening a public safety officer and his wife is charged with obstruction of justice.
The couple’s neighbours watched in disbelief as “in front of our house, there were two policemen holding our neighbour on the ground,” said David Shirmer and Nawal Benzaid.
“We were totally shocked.”
The Town of Mount Royal referred questions to Montreal police and Montreal police declined to comment on the incident.
'EXPLOITING THEIR POWER'
Razaghi, who is originally from Iran and has taught at McGill for seven years, said he’s still in shock—not just about the violence, but at how, police scared his children and rifled through his home, all based on the word of a single guard.
“Why would you create such a scary scene at my house?” he said. “And they went into my bedroom and took [our] ID cards.”
He wanted to make the situation public, he said, because “I think they are overusing their authority. They are exploiting their power to intimidate people.”
Police officers in Quebec only have the right to enter a person’s home if they have a warrant or if they’re in “hot pursuit” of a suspect, meaning literally running after them and already on their heels.
Officers can also go inside if they have reasonable grounds to think they can prevent an imminent serious injury or death, which could mean an attack or suicide attempt.
They can also be welcomed inside by a resident, though they must also leave again when asked, if they don’t have a warrant.
In this case, when police rang the doorbell, one of Razaghi’s young daughters came to the door, though it’s unclear whether a child can give the kind of consent needed for entry into the house—and the family still had the right to ask them to leave.
Razaghi said that while his shoulder is injured, requiring a scan later this week, and his wife also got hurt, it’s his kids that he’s most concerned about.
“I think the psychological impact on them is huge,” he said.
That night, the 11-year-old “kept waking up,” he said.
“Finally I realized that she wants actually to sleep with us, next to me and my wife, because she was scared.”
The couple is supposed to appear in court later this fall.
--With files from CTV's Billy Shields and Andrew Brennan