The Vancouver Police Department issued the following statement yesterday evening (January 21):
Vancouver Police have formally and personally apologized to a 44 year old city man who was arrested in a case of mistaken identity.
In the early morning hours of January 21, 2010, two plain-clothes VPD officers were responding to a 911 call of a domestic incident. They were told by dispatch that a woman called to report that her drunken husband was hitting her and she was concerned for the safety of their baby.
The officers responded to a southeast Vancouver home, but didn’t realize there were two separate residences in the house. Unfortunately for all involved, they knocked on the wrong door and encountered a middle-aged man who didn’t understand English very well and would later say he didn’t realize the men at his door were police.
The man resisted by striking out at the police and trying to slam the door, but the officers persisted in the belief that there may be a woman and child inside who could be in danger.
The man was arrested and received minor injuries to his face in the process. Police called for medical assistance and the man was transported to VGH as a precautionary measure. Cantonese speaking officers were also called to explain to the family why the police had made this mistake.
The VPD regrets any inconvenience or trauma this may have caused the family.
In related information, police did respond to the correct suite immediately after, where they met the complainant who said her drunken partner had hit her in the back of the head following an argument and then fled.
Police located the man nearby and arrested him for assault.
The VPD issued this statement later the same evening:
Early this evening Vancouver Police announced that a full and thorough internal investigation has been launched into the case of a 44 year old east side resident who was injured and arrested in a case of mistaken identity.
A team from the VPD consisting of a senior officer, a Cantonese speaking police sergeant and an Inspector from the Professional Standards Section visited the family, and listened to the man’s concerns as he gave his detailed account of what happened when officers knocked on his door early this morning. The officers were responding to a 911 domestic call to the correct house, but the wrong suite.
They apologized once again personally and on behalf of the Department. They reassured the family that a full and thorough investigation of the incident would be conducted by the VPD Professional Standards Section and that the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner had already been informed.
They also expressed concern for the man’s injuries which include a badly swollen eye.
The family will be visited again tomorrow by a member of the Professional Standards team and a Cantonese speaking sergeant in order to quickly advance the investigation.