Vancouver police apologize to man injured in wrongful arrest

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.



won't answer my door

Jan 22, 2010 at 11:36am

mmm. two men knock on my door late at night and without identifying themselvesas police try to enter...sounds like a home invasion to me. I'd strike out and try to close the door too. Then I get beaten up and the excuse? Resisting arrest? Come on. These are thugs and should be charged with assault.

Now is the time.

Jan 22, 2010 at 11:41am

It is time to speak up. We are slipping into fascism and things just need a little push from here and speaking out becomes dangerous to you self and loved ones.

We need real civilian oversight with the ability to discipline criminal behavior in our law enforcement.

Fascism in 10 easy steps

Jan 22, 2010 at 11:46am

From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms.
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2. Create a gulag
3. Develop a thug caste
4. Set up an internal surveillance system
5. Harass citizens' groups
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7. Target key individuals
8. Control the press
9. Dissent equals treason
10. Suspend the rule of law


Jan 22, 2010 at 3:43pm

Interesting that the VPD finds itself defending against the actions of rogue officers once again. Also note that the VPD revised it's original (and misleading) press release by acknowledging that the victim did not struggle with police, and sustained injuries as a result of the actions of the VPD officers.
Even if they were responding to the correct unit(within the building), they still have no right to assault a civilian in such a manner. I suspect that they were all hyped up about the prospect of apprehending a spousal abuser, and were going to get their chance to provide a little vigilante justice, as sadly our courts don't seem to treat violence against women and children seriously.
The only reason this case is getting much attention is because this is a case of mistaken identity, I hear of stories where the police assault people who are criminals, but citizens decide not to pursue assault charges against police because they are threatened with extra jail time/charges if they persist in raising attention to police practices.
From the sounds of it these "plainclothes" officers should be charged with assault and if found guilty, be stripped of their jobs with the VPD. Surely Jim Chu cannot defend this kind of behavior. The Citizens of Vancouver deserve to be served in a professional and courteous manner, with police officers upholding the law not breaking the law.


Jan 22, 2010 at 4:21pm

since when is resisting arrest ( if that even happened) result in a black eyer and broken facial bones. Police are taught how to take down a suspect and get to practise it on a trainer, -the trainer doesnt end up with broken bones in his face. Why ?-cause thats not in any police procedure manual on how to take down a suspect.


Jan 22, 2010 at 8:33pm

some well said comments here.
the only way the sheep i mean citizens of canada can wake up from what is really going on out there and save themselves and there liberties is to stop watching tv and reading the papers, maybe then we can all come out of our brainwashed state of mind. think about it, we are lead to believe a 70yr old man on a camel in the desert with an AK-47 is a threat to our national security.


Jan 22, 2010 at 10:32pm

These officers made a serious mistake, they know it, and so do we now, Yes hold them personally responsible and accountable for their actions. I'm sure their uinion rep will do everything he can to downplay their actions, he's just doing his job, but, in the end...they deserve to be held accountable. The police board cannot do a lot rally against them, and it's doubtful if they will get anything more than a weeks suspension and the note on their file. To take them to court in a civil action would cost this family a small fortune, and it would take a couple of years if they were lucky, it's money they probably don't have, unlike the police union which will support their members to the end. So, what have we learned in the end, once again it's distasteful but swallow again and move on

Don't leave home without one?

Feb 5, 2010 at 10:52pm

Or maybe not as guy gets assaulted for carrying umbrella and Rhianna has a hit song. Doesn't that just make you feel all safe inside,I'm sorry for beating in you head but we thought you were someone else? Better him than me.


Feb 26, 2010 at 3:02pm

The real reasons behind these kind of repeated police brutalities against innocents in our society are rooted in our current corrupted justice system; It is important for all to understand just how destructive domestic violence injunctions are, which is something the Domestic Violence Industry will NEVER tell you. I personally don't expect it will get better, only worse if the Canadian justice is manipulated by the special interest groups, judges, lawyers, government agencies, social services, legal vendors etc. big big $ at the price of fairness of justice.