The first thing Farid Nouisser thought when his cell phone rang around 2 a.m. on April 16, and a voice said, “this is the RCMP, we need you to come out of the house with your hands up,” was that someone was playing a prank.
What happened next was no joke. Nouisser believes his family was the victim of a possible “swatting call” and was publicly humiliated by the RCMP in their quiet Peachland neighbourhood. Swatting is a hoax 911 call typically involving hostages, gunfire, and other acts of extreme violence. It’s an issue police departments are well aware of, and it’s a crime.
“My wife gets up and looks out the window, and there’s police activity all around the house and she starts freaking out.”
Once outside Nouisser said he was confronted by several officers in body armour, guns pointed at him, yelling to “get his f—ing hands up.” He said he was frisked, and handcuffed.
“I’m freaking out. What am I charged with? So, I’m giving them a few choice words as they’re putting me in the back of the cruiser.”
Nouisser’s wife Kaarin refused to let officers touch her and screamed at them, demanding to know why they were there. Their 12-year-old son was still asleep in the house.
Across the street neighbours peered through their blinds, watching the mayhem unfold. One specific neighbour had a guest staying with them, the man, who asked not to be identified, said he went outside to see what was going on and an officer pointed a gun at him, yelled “who the f—k are you?” and told him to “get back in the f—ing house.”
As Noussier sat in the back of the cruiser, he could hear over the police radio what was happening inside his home.
“They marched through my house with guns drawn going ‘clear’, top floor clear.’ While I was freaked out and yelling at them what is this for, what are you doing, do you know what they said? They said ‘we’re keeping you safe.’”
It appeared the police were looking for weapons in the home, which they did not find. While Nouisser was put into police custody he was not officially arrested. When he was finally let go, it was not the end of the ordeal. As they walked back up their driveway Nouisser said they heard someone swear at them.
Following the incident, Nouisser said they called RCMP multiple times for an explanation as to how they were treated, but it took several days before those calls were returned. His wife eventually went into the West Kelowna detachment and said she was treated rudely and called a liar about being sworn at. Both have sent letters of complaint to the West Kelowna detachment, but to date have not received a response.
“The level of force and brutality was disproportionate to the situation,” wrote Kaarin. “Once it had been established that we had all been sleeping and that my 12-year-old son was still asleep in the house, why the need for handcuffs, treating us like criminals and defaming us in front of our neighbours?”
Nouisser said they finally learned the police response to their home that night stemmed from a call to RCMP that shots had been fired at their address.
“Then there were conflicting stories,” he said. “The first story was there was a man outside with a weapon. Then it became shots fired, and few guys in the house.”
He requested a recording of the call through the West Kelowna detachment, which he said took about a month for the RCMP to provide. After listening to the more than 20-minute recording, Nouisser believes the call was perpetrated by a group of teens who showed up at one of his son’s 18th birthday party on Apr. 9 but were turned away as they weren’t invited.
Nouisser said it was not long after the teens were turned away, from the party, that police showed up stating they had received a complaint about an alleged assault at his address. He said he told officers that there was no problem as he was chaperoning the party.
“They were great, the cops that were there that night. Clearly, we did nothing wrong, and we were victims of some kind of a misunderstanding that didn’t take place on our property.”
Nouisser added one of the officers who was at his home on Apr. 16 told him he was also there the evening of Apr. 9.
The call to RCMP
Black Press Media has obtained a copy of the call from Nouisser. The following excerpts are between an RCMP dispatcher and two individuals:
Disp: Good evening RCMP
Caller 1: Help, um, I just came back from this party with all my friends and all these guys took out these huge guns…so we just ran out of the house.
The caller claimed there were about 20 people at the party, that three of them had pulled out guns, and they had heard two or three shots. The caller then claimed to again hear gunshots, although nothing can be heard on the recording.
Caller 1: Oh my God guys. Oh my God.
Disp: Just move yourself away okay, and find a place to hide I’m sending the police.
When the dispatcher asks for the caller’s name it takes several seconds for them to respond.
Disp: E—y how come you didn’t call on 911?
Caller 1: Pardon me?
Disp: How come you didn’t call on 911? I’m just wondering.
Caller 1: (after a brief pause) This is 911.
About 12 minutes into the recording the dispatcher seems to have doubts about the legitimacy of the call. They can be heard telling someone, not audible to the caller, that there are a few things that don’t seem quite right. It’s not clear who the dispatcher is speaking with.
Later in the recording, a second caller comes on the line, however, it takes more than 30 seconds before the person responds to repeated ‘hellos’ from the dispatcher.
The caller also claimed to have seen guns and heard shots fired. The dispatcher asked both callers for their phone numbers. Capital News reached out to the provided phone numbers, to no avail. In both cases, the names the callers provided to RCMP did not match the names on the voice messages. The recording ends while the dispatcher is still on the line with the second caller.
What Nouisser and his wife want is an apology for what happened to them that night. However, Kaarin said that in following up on their complaint she was told by an officer ‘that would probably not be possible.’ She said she made it clear in her complaint letter that the RCMP need to do the right thing.
“I am a teacher, and when I make a mistake, I say I’m sorry. I am very disappointed in the way this situation was handled and even more appalled at the lack of care and communication following. You breezed in, terrorized a family, abused your power, and left without a thought of how your actions had impacted innocent people.”
Nouisser is considering filing a formal complaint with the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP. It’s unclear if police are investigating the incident as a swatting call. Black Press Media has reached out to the RCMP for comment and is awaiting a response.