A Calgary man says while it was wrong for him to buy a truck without getting insurance ahead of time, that doesn’t excuse the way he was spoken to by city police in a parking lot.
“It was like a humiliation,” Therence Edou Edou said about what happened last week. “They talked to me like I was a criminal.”
Edou Edou bought a truck in a private sale on Feb. 24 for his new construction business and was planning on getting insurance the following Monday.
He drove it to the Marlborough Mall parking lot to buy some tools and got permission to leave it in the lot overnight.
But it was spotted by Calgary police since it didn’t have a license plate and when he went to his vehicle to speak to the officers, he said they were aggressive and accusatory, claiming the vehicle may have been stolen.
Despite the apparent accusation, the vehicle was released back to him after it was impounded.
“They took pictures of me like I was a gangster,” he said. “They humiliated me; there was a lot of people in the station.”
“That’s a very embarrassing situation for me, I can’t support it,” he said, adding it felt like a spectacle.
He admitted it was definitely a mistake in not getting insurance ahead of time and has no issue paying the impound fees.
But what he doesn’t understand is what happened when he arrived at the lot, where he said the vehicle suddenly stopped starting despite it driving fine before.
He said he’s afraid it was somehow damaged and brought his concerns to a police supervisor last Monday.
He said while that officer was much more understanding and receptive to his concerns about what happened in the parking lot and his fear of someone damaging the truck, there was nothing the force could do.
Edou Edou said it’s now up to him to pay for an inspection and any subsequent repairs, which is worrisome considering he needs the truck for business reasons.
“It doesn’t mean even if I’m driving without insurance, you have to damage my vehicle,” he said, adding he has also brought his concerns to the City of Calgary, but with no relief in sight.
In a statement, Calgary police reiterated the need to buy insurance ahead of time and offered what avenues there are for citizen concerns regarding police interactions:
“Vehicles are required to have a licence plate, valid registration and proper insurance when being driven or parked on a public roadway. This includes privately-owned parking lots that are publicly accessible, such as a mall parking lot. If a vehicle does not meet these requirements, the vehicle can be impounded to prevent it from being driven further until the proper registration and insurance is obtained, or to prevent a vehicle from being left where it poses a safety risk.
The Calgary Police Service takes the conduct of our members seriously and expects officers to conduct themselves professionally at all times. If a member of the public feels that they were not treated properly by a police officer, we encourage them to report their concern to our Professional Standards Section. Reporting a concern gives us an opportunity to find out what happened, address the Citizen’s concern, and learn from any mistakes.
When a vehicle is impounded, it is taken by a private towing company to an impound lot operated by the Calgary Parking Authority. If a vehicle owner believes a vehicle was damaged while it was impounded, the Calgary Parking Authority has a process to investigate and address these concerns.”
But Edou Edou said perhaps after this episode gets sorted out, he may leave Calgary.