The Vancouver Police Department is investigating why one of its officers shoved a disabled woman to the ground on a Downtown Eastside sidewalk.
The department’s professional standards section is also looking into why two other officers at the scene didn’t offer any help to the woman, who reportedly has multiple sclerosis, on June 9, according to a statement issued by police this afternoon (July 22).
“The officer involved did take immediate steps that day to report the incident to his supervisor,” the statement says. “Within hours, the Duty Officer was informed and passed the information to the VPD Professional Standards Section, initiating an investigation. Professional Standards has since been in contact with the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner.
“The officer involved has also apologized to the woman, expressing regret for his initial action and for not helping her in the aftermath,” the statement adds.
Today, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association publicized surveillance footage showing the incident, which took place on East Hastings Street near Carrall Street.
Robert Holmes, president of the association, 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 said in a press release.
In its statement, the police department claims it takes its responsibility for the safety of Downtown Eastside residents “very seriously”.
“If this incident has in any way caused the public to be concerned about our commitment to helping and serving the people of the Downtown Eastside, we are deeply sorry,” the statement says. “We are committed to a full and thorough investigation and will take appropriate steps at its conclusion.”
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