“Can you just tell me where my dad is?”

Video shows police abusing driver for parking infraction and leaving teenage daughter stranded

By Abby E. Schachter

Dirk Boder and his daughter Melissa never imagined that a simple errand—picking up a parcel from a friend—could turn into a tragic experience; but that is exactly what happened the night of Nov. 10.

Boder, a German native (Munich) has been a Montreal resident for over 20 years. He is a hard working man with a loving family, a good job and plenty of friends. He moved to Canada because he believed it to be an ideal country to raise a family. Montreal seemed like the perfect city too. A place full of art, life, culture, opportunity and social liberties. However, Boder is much less idealistic these days thanks to his agonizing run-in with the “authorities” earlier this month. “I thought we had rights. If I told a cop in Europe about this incident he would notbelieveit. Officers are meant to protect and serve the public, not abuse their power over them.”

It was a Sunday evening around 5:30 p.m.

Boder’s 17-year-old daughter, a first-year college student, was all set for a night of studying.

She had just washed her hair, jumped into the sanctuary of her pajamas and was ready to hit the books. Then her dad had to run out to pick something up from a friend of his wife’s. That friend’s daughter had the parcel. The teen was also a friend of Melissa’s, so she tagged along.

Boder drove with his daughter to the corner of Peel and de Maisonneuve. There he parked his car and turned his flashers on while the two waited for Melissa’s friend. The friend showed up within moments. Melissa says the whole exchange took no more than a couple of minutes.

As they were about to pull out, someone began pounding on Boder’s window. Father and daughter turned to the window. It was a police officer. Dirk Boder says that he was in the process of turning off his flashers and starting to pull out.

“I rolled my window down to see what the matter was. There was this officer and he was screaming “Move esti. Move. You can’t park here!”According to Boder, the officer was instantanly aggressive and did not give him time to respond to the demand. “Before I even had a chance to apologize the officer began to yell louder: NO! MOVE RIGHT NOW! He also pushed himself into my car, through my open window.”

At this point, Boder says, the officer had immersed half of his upper body into the vehicle through the open window. He was yelling angrily at Boder for his license and registration. “He was scaring my daughter, so I opened my door and stood up saying, whoa… Why are you yelling? I was about to leave.”

Boder’s response got the officer even more worked up. Now, Boder says, the two were standing face to face outside the car, while Melissa remained seated in the passenger seat. She had not left the car throughout the entire episode. According to Boder, the cop now moved very close to him (inches away from his face) and began shouting in a threatening tone: “What are you going to do, big guy?” Boder replied “What? Me? Nothing…” Aware that his daughter was watching the entire ordeal, Boder refused to get combative, handed the officer his papers and got back into his car. He and Melissa waited as the officer returned to his van to write up a ticket. The two remained seated until the officer returned and handed Boder a ticket for obstructing the flow of traffic. “He shouted one more time, Now move! I obeyed and moved my car forward as the police officers were returning to their car.”

It was around that time, approximately 5:45 p.m., that things took a turn for the worse. Boder noticed that his daughter was shaken up over the confrontation and made a decision to get out of his car and take a photo of the SPVM van number. He wanted to report the officer’s behaviour. Boder had already moved out of the no stopping zone by then.

“I stepped out of the car to take the picture and the police officer approached me saying: you don’t have enough trouble? He then started coming closer and pushed me, so I said; don’t touch me.” Boder’s verbal defense allegedly set the officer off. “At this point he started attacking me. I called for my daughter and she came running out of the car and starting filming on her phone the scene of them arresting/attacking me for a reason neither I nor Melissa were aware of.” The video shows that the officer had twisted Boder’s arm against his back and pinned it as far back as it would go and bent his hand at the wrist. “It felt like my hand was going to break. I’m a carpenter, I need my hands, it’s how I make my living.” The officers pushed Boder to the ground.

The video then shows Boder yelling at his daughter to keep recording and to “call mommy” and “let her know what’s happen ing.” Boder is crying out in pain, saying “Ow it hurts,” while daughter Melissa cries and yells at both officers to stop and let him go. “You’re arresting him for parking in the wrong spot? Are you insane? All he did was park in the wrong spot!”The last few seconds of the video record Melissa crying out at police as they drive away with her father in tow, “You can’t leave me here alone. I’m just a kid.”

Boder was then flung into the police van and driven away to the south detention hall located on Guy. Melissa was left alone crying and helpless. She was shocked, stranded with no money and no keys, only her cell phone.

Melissa then called 9-1-1 and the respondent gave her the phone number to a downtown police station (number 20.) A woman answered the phone and Melissa explained that, “I asked her for help, I said can you please help me. I just want to find my dad, I want to know where they are taking him, and I’m all by myself. The woman at the station said she was unable to tell me where he was at that point. Then I said, please, can’t you just tell me where my dad is? She said no and hung up.” The woman at the station has been identified but was unavailable for comment.

Meanwhile, according to Boder, he was handcuffed in the back seat of the police van, pleading with both officers, asking them to go back. His daughter was a minor, he reminded them, and shouldn’t be left alone in such a panicked state. The officers apparently did not respond. By this point Boder had been issued a second ticket,in the van, this one for resisting arrest.

According to Boder, during the car ride the second officer told him that he would be better off paying the fines and not contesting. “He tells me: it’s our word against yours…it’ll go to court and then arbitration, it just takes a lot of time and energy and money, you know…? Then the smaller, aggressive officer tells me that they could give me a ticket for over $600 for resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer. I say do what you got to do.”

When they finally arrived at the police station, they found that it was closed. According to Boder, the two officers spoke with someone outside and when they returned to the van they were suddenly “a lot nicer and told me that they were going to do something they never do and drive me back to my daughter.” The officers also told Boder that he would be able to contest the ticket issued to him for ‘resisting arrest.’ According to Boder, he never received such a ticket. “The actual ticket says it is for having refused to leave an illegal parking spot, which I never refused to do!”

During the drive back to Peel and de Maisonneuve, the officers were acting exceptionally agreeable. “They were basically trying to smooth things over and make me feel better. When we got out of the car they reached their hands out to me and I shook them.” Boder found his daughter and wife sitting in his car looking worried, waiting for him.

They then drove home and around 8 p.m. Boder received a phone call. According to him, It was the nicer cop calling to apologize for any “inconvenience” they may have put him through.

Melissa’s video brought this story to public attention when it got posted on social media. Boder confessed that he had never planned on releasing the video in the first place. He was saving it as proof for court. “But I had to call in and cancel work the next day because my wrist was in such bad shape. I told the woman I work for what happened and she asked that I show her the video…” Boder’s client was so distraught by the abuse that she asked his permission to post the recording online and encouraged him to speak up and bring the incident to public attention.

As for the police, the SPVM says it will not comment with regard to the officers’ actions because the department does “not comment on complaints regarding officers’ behaviour.” The department said that the tickets were issued for “obstructing the flow of traffic” (though the police van itself blocked the southbound lane on Peel) and for refusing to obey a police officer’s request to ‘move. ‘ As for the officers involved, The Suburban has discovered that the two are members of the riot squad.

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