Video: Vancouver police officer appears to shove woman walking along Hastings

An on-line video appears to show a Vancouver police officer pushing over a disabled woman on a Downtown Eastside sidewalk.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association publicized the surveillance footage today (July 22).

In the minute-long video, which has no audio, three men who appear to be police officers stride along a bustling sidewalk on Hastings Street near United We Can and the Lux Hotel.

As an unidentified woman walking in the opposite direction passes the group, one of the men appears to shove her to the ground.

As the woman who reportedly has cerebral palsy is lying on the ground, a few bystanders approach.

After a brief exchange, the men leave and the woman stands up and continues on her way.

Vancouver police representatives could not be reached immediately for comment, and it is not clear what caused the incident.

Robert Holmes, B.C. Civil Liberties Association president, has condemned the behaviour of the officers.

“This would not have happened in Kerrisdale or Point Grey and we need to ask why it happens on the Downtown Eastside?” Holmes says in a news release.

The association questions whether or not the “work culture” in the police department needs reform.

“The images on this video simply do not square with what Canadians expect of members of our law enforcement community,” Holmes adds.

Update: The video of the encounter between police and the woman on Hastings Street was removed from the Vimeo Web site on July 23. It has since been reposted on YouTube. Also, the woman in the video has said in interviews she has cerebral palsy, although previous news reports said she had multiple sclerosis.




Jul 22, 2010 at 2:16pm

This kind of incident has happened so many times that you can't even blame the cops or politicians anymore. We've passively given them carte blanche to behave in this manner. You know the old "fool me once" saying...

The culprit here is the pathetic indifference and apathy of we who live in Vancouver and allow this to go on without demanding accountability and discipline among public servants.

I am to blame, you are to blame, we are to blame.

So the next time you choose American Idol or a fancy latte over getting involved in politics, remember this: If you happen to be the next victim of haphazard thuggery at the hands of the state, no one else will give a damn because the culture you support and fund is more concerned with dressing up their pets, watching sports, buying useless garbage, and sucking on overly complicated coffee.

"The penalty for not participating in government is to be governed by your inferiors." Plato


Jul 22, 2010 at 2:16pm

From what I can see looking at this twice, as well as one can see it here, it looks like one of the cops pushed this woman away when she was getting very close and she fell. Everyone involved simply picks up and carries on.

Is there anything here to suggest improper conduct?
Rod Smelser


Jul 22, 2010 at 3:09pm

I guess surveillance cameras work both ways. I don't agree with Big Brother, except when it's directed at the authorities. It's important that police and politicians are under constant surveillance so that we can ensure that they don't abuse the powers we give them. The government and its agents should be afraid of the people, not the other way around.

Peter Kriss

Jul 22, 2010 at 3:46pm

It's so obvious it was an accident. She walked right towards the police officer almost walking right into him as he directs her to walk away from him she fell over. Once again Vancouver's bleeding hearts jump to conclusions and assume the police are out to hurt an "innocent victim of the east side". There first to go straight to the media and cause another smear campaign against the cops. I'm sick of all the bleeding heart hypocrites in this city. Try living in Montreal or the states where they are famous for dirty cops. This isn't even newsworthy. Gawd forbid some junkie accidentally gets knocked over. Accidents happen and this isolated incident caught on film is completely blown out context!


Jul 22, 2010 at 5:05pm

If I was a Vancouver police officer I would be deeply ashamed. Now, what's this about a woman getting shoved?


Jul 22, 2010 at 7:26pm

An able bodied man bearing Crown insignia on his uniform, having sworn an oath to serve honourably, has been filmed assaulting a handicapped woman.

Spin it any way you like, from the left or the right, it doesn't matter. It's a disgrace.

Gordon W. Stewart

Jul 22, 2010 at 7:59pm

First, I would check to see if the guy was actually a cop. Second, there are three police walking side by side like a bull dozer, the citizen is caught in a moment where she is forced to manage her way around the police and succeeds. Third, one asshole cop reaches out his arm and pushes her! I don't usually use the word A-hole, but the guy who pushed her does not fit the description of one who should get paid to serve and protect! After all, this is Canada. Some citizens get down on there luck, be it health, or money reasons, but the last thing a citizen needs is some cop lacking common sense pushing them down to the ground just because the cop had to make an extra effort to let her pass!
I myself would not file a complaint with the Office of the Police Complaint Commission regarding this case, as I believe, the complaint will float in dead air with ex cops determining the outcome, and an ex-prosecutor agreeing with the police.
I would sue the cop in the Law Courts, where ex-police and police unions won't be able to cover the thug ass. There are many ethical cops out there, but this thug cop, helps undo all the good work they do!

Matty K.

Jul 22, 2010 at 8:07pm

She doesn't pass by the group like the article claims, in the video she appears to be doing something right in front of the officer. I can see her arm moving away from her right as she passes by after abruptly stopping the officer mid-stride, this may have been an initiation of contact. Two sides to every story.

I know you'll all press disagree on my comment, but that just means you know I may be right. And that threatens you.

Two sides to every story.


Jul 22, 2010 at 11:44pm

I'm sure the armed officer was thinking "this underweight, disabled person is posing an imminent threat to my safety! I will use reasonable force to restrain her! But what is reasonable? Oh, I know. Pushing her to the ground like she's a serf and I'm a rich lord!! That was in the training manual!"


Jul 23, 2010 at 4:40am

Sorry people, I've watched this clip several times and to me it looks exactly like an unprovoked assault. Without any physical provocation, the cop turned around and pushed her to the ground.