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B.C. man alleges violent takedown by RCMP in case of mistaken identity

A Surrey man alleges he was not notified of his right to speak to a lawyer during the May 8, 2020 incident.
A Surrey man alleges four RCMP officers caused him injuries when arresting him in a case of mistaken identity.

A Surrey man who alleges he was violently taken down in a case of mistaken identity is suing the RCMP, the B.C. government and the federal government. 

In a notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Feb. 2, Surjeet Heer says four constables arrived at his home on May 8, 2020 and asked about the location of a tenant who resided in Heer’s basement.

He asserts that when he moved forward, the officers demanded he step back and place his hands behind him. 

“The defendant constables then proceeded to violently take the plaintiff down, forcing him to the ground,” the notice said. The court document says Heer was handcuffed and arrested as constables kept a knee on his back, his face pushed into the ground.

“It appears the defendant constables seized the plaintiff thinking he was the tenant,” the notice said.

Heer asserts he was not notified of his right to speak to a lawyer.

The incident resulted in injuries to his back and neck and lacerations and bruising to his face, elbows and arms, according to the notice. Heer says he's dealt with ongoing issues, including post-traumatic headaches, sleep problems, shock, depression, moodiness, anxiety and loss of motion. The claim notes he continues to need medical treatment.

The defendants named in the suit are B.C.’s minister of public safety and solicitor general, Canada’s attorney general for the RCMP, Surrey RCMP members Rija Munawar and JP Varvajal and two John Does, also RCMP members.

The federal Department of Justice referred Glacier Media's inquiries to RCMP E Division.

RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said she had not been able to confirm if the force had been served with the notice.

“Once served, the Department of Justice will review the information and provide an official response through the court process,” Shoihet said.

B.C.’s Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General said it could not comment as “the issue may be before the courts.”