Vancouver Police Department Chief Constable Jim Chu issued this statement today (April 8), regarding the seizure of a Province photographer's camera on April 5:
I am here this morning to advise you that the VPD has formally apologized to the Province newspaper for retaining the camera belonging to their photographer Jason Payne for longer than we should have.
At the chaotic crime scene, there was confusion as to whether he was a legitimate news photographer.
Once we established that he was a legitimate news media employee, we should have returned the camera forthwith, and we held on to the camera for about an hour longer than we should have.
We will make copies of the letter of apology available to you.
We will also make available to you our refresher training bulletin outlining the exigent circumstances that must be present for us to seize a camera or digital evidence without a search warrant, as per Section 487.11 of the Criminal Code.
We have also sent a refresher training bulleting to all of our officers reminding them of our policies and the law in this area.
Let me emphasize something: The officers were acting in good faith. They were acting in the heat of the moment in a confusing and dynamic situation.
Their intent was to secure and preserve as much evidence as possible to assist in the investigation.
I am also advising you that this investigation is in the process of being turned over to the New Westminster Police Department for an external investigation.
Bill 6 was tabled by the provincial government. It was not passed due to the legislature being suspended for the election. However, we are living up to the intent of this legislation.
The injuries to the person we shot are not life-threatening but do meet the definition of serious harm as spelled out in Bill 6.