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Family asks OIPRD to investigate officer recorded making racist statements after arrest

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An Ontario police watchdog has been asked to look into a Peel police officer who accidentally recorded himself making racist statements to a Mississauga, Ont., man in his cruiser.

The family of Masood Masad filed a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) after they say he was the victim of a needless arrest.

The incident stems from a mid-November verbal altercation in a restaurant where Masad claims it was 20 minutes late with an order he was delivering for DoorDash.

Soon after the incident, Peel police Const. Bernard Trlaja called his house. Masad’s mother, who was skeptical of the call and thought it was from a scammer, told the officer to come to the house.

“That is what started the whole thing in a sense of his anger,” Masad said. “He was very upset that she would in his mind not co-operate with him on the phone. But he has to understand that had she known that he was a police officer 100 per cent, she would have answered all his questions.”

When Trlaja showed up in person, things soon escalated.​ Masad told the officer he was recording the interaction on his phone, and shortly after he was arrested.

Bashar Masad, left, and his son Masood Masad, right, are asking Ontario’s police watchdog to look into a Peel police officer who accidentally recorded himself making racist comments. (CBC)

Recording accidentally restarted

The officer placed the phone beside him in the front seat of the police car, unaware he was recording a video.

In it, Trlaja claimed Masad’s mother was “arrogant” and began to make racist comments. 

“This kid obviously doesn’t understand the rule or nature or culture of Canada,” he said. 

“OK, he wants to be violent and bring that violence with him, then he’s going to have to learn the way.” 

Masad’s father, Bashar, said he was shocked when he listened to the recording and added that his son has lived most of his life in Canada.

“My son came to Canada when he was six years old. He’s 25 now. He’s spent 19 years of his life in this country,” he said.

Masad says security camera footage shows the officer accidentally starting the recording. (Submitted by Masad family)

“He went to school, to college, to work in this country. So if you’re talking about any culture, he’s a Canadian.”

The family is demanding that the 18-year police veteran get extra training and deliver an apology.

Masad said when he listened to the recording, it seemed like the officer was trying to get a reaction out of him.

“When I heard it, even I’m surprised I managed to keep my cool because this guy’s going off. He’s being so disrespectful to my mother for no reason,” he said.

“Maybe because it was my first time being actually arrested, taken down, I was thinking to myself, ‘OK, stay calm. Don’t talk back.'”

All the charges against Masad have been dropped. And while his family has filed a complaint with the OIPRD, Peel police are also conducting their own internal investigation through professional standards. The family was told the investigation may take up to six months. 

Peel police say they have no update on the internal review other than to say during the investigation, Trlaja is suspended with pay. 

CBC News has seen a copy of the Masad family’s complaint to the OIPRD​, but the watchdog said it doesn’t comment about filed complaints.

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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV

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A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence

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Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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