Gang Squad Turns “Goon Squad” Allegedly Asking South Asian Man’s Girlfriend Whether She Had Sex With Him

0
237

Steven Sugrim and Sabrina Haloulakos were driving earlier this month when for no apparent reason they were stopped by the police’s gang task force and harassed, the couple claim. They filed a complaint about one officer’s allegedly “inappropriate” behaviour to the pretty young woman. The incident raises some terrifying concerns that police has been granted such powers to trample over individual rights and the Stephen Harper Conservatives are looking to give police even greater powers which can lead to abuse of power and further invasion on citizens’ rights.

BURNABY – A South Asian man, who may or may not have gang connections and who has not been convicted of any crimes, and his girlfriend were pulled over by the Gang Task Force which soon turned into a bullying event by “police goons” as the man and his partner were searched and “aggressively” questioned, including one officer taking the girlfriend aside and asking her if she had sex with him.

Steven Sugrim and Sabrina Haloulakos were driving earlier this month when for no apparent reason they were stopped by the police’s gang task force and harassed, the couple claim. They filed a complaint about one officer’s allegedly “inappropriate” behaviour to the pretty young woman.

Haloulakos, 25, told the Province newspaper Tuesday she was driving her boyfriend’s car back to her Burnaby home at about 9:30 p.m. on Sept. 16, after the couple had had dinner with her mom, when they were waved over in the 5500-block Kingsway by two black SUVs carrying officers in uniform.

“The police said they stopped us because I wasn’t the registered owner of the car, but my boyfriend produced his registration and he was right beside me,” said Haloulakos, who told the Province she has never been in any trouble with the law.

“They [the officers] seemed really uptight, for no reason at all.”

The officers, who were from several police forces, asked her boyfriend Sugrim, 20, what he did for a living and how he had acquired the car, a 2004 black Cadillac.

Sugrim, who worked for a car dealership but is now studying for his realtor’s licence, told them he had bought it relatively inexpensively on Craigslist.

“Then they made me get out and they started aggressively questioning Steven and searching the car, while the one officer who stayed with me started asking really personal and inappropriate questions,” Haloulakos told the Province.

The officer, a Mountie, was “definitely flirtatious and hitting on me — if it had been a bar, I would have told him to get lost but I was intimidated because he was a cop. It was very, very awkward,” she said.

The officer told the young woman her boyfriend had “a little bit of history” with police and began “warning” her about Sugrim, she said.

“He started asking, ‘How long have you been dating him for?’ and ‘Have you had sex with him yet?’ which I thought was none of his business.

“He was warning me about my boyfriend for no reason and then asking me for my personal phone number and address, which I gave him because I felt so intimidated. I feel really, really unsafe that he knows where to find me.”

Haloulakos, who filed a complaint with the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP the following week, said she is “nervous this officer got my personal information for no reason.”

Both Haloulakos and Sugrim told the Province they support the work of the gang task force.

“We were trying to be really co-operative, but where they really crossed the line was with the officer taking my girlfriend 20 feet away to warn her about me, asking her inappropriate questions and getting her phone number and address,” said Sugrim.

Sugrim acknowledges that he has had some driving violations but points out that charges against him in connection with a July 2009 landlord-tenant dispute were dismissed.

A check of court records indicates Sugrim did face assault and weapons charges in 2009 but all charges were stayed by prosecutors, who obtained significant “new” information about the incident.

Vancouver police Insp. John Grywinski, acting head of the combined forces special enforcement unit of the gang task force, confirmed to the Province he spoke to Sugrim the day after the incident and gave him the officers’ names.

“Now that they have made a formal complaint, it’s up to the investigator,” Grywinski told the Province. “It raises alarm bells when I hear one of my officers may have gone too far, but of the thousands of checks and traffic stops we’ve been making, this is the first complaint of this nature.”

Grywinski said that it was RCMP Const. Sean Courtorielle who was questioning Haloulakos and no one else was present at that time.

“But at the end of the day, if one of my officers is acting in an improper manner, we want it to be fixed,” he said.

The incident raises some terrifying concerns that police has been granted such powers to trample over individual rights and the Stephen Harper Conservatives are looking to give police even greater powers which can lead to abuse of power and further invasion on citizens’ rights.