Vancouver police investigating officer’s shoving of disabled woman in Downtown Eastside

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      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.”

      You can follow Stephen Hui on Twitter at twitter.com/stephenhui.

      Comments

      16 Comments

      glen p robbins

      Jul 22, 2010 at 3:16pm

      Where you have rank poverty--people addicted to drugs and alcohol--crime--a more grim situation than Point Grey and other Vancouver City communities --some extremely wealthy-----any person's attitude could be susceptible to cynicism reflected in this police officer's unfortunate actions.

      Is this an excuse? - No it isn't. It's just a reminder that grim is grim -- for all of the players --including the police - who we expect to be above these mistakes.

      This is a bad incident. The apology is here - what can be done with this woman - to reflect remorse--and (cliche or not) move and shake -- the negative -- and turn it positive.

      I respectfully acknowledge that this may be easier said than done.

      Does the BC Civil Liberties feel an conflict over how footage was obtained -- that they use to support their position?

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      apeasant

      Jul 22, 2010 at 5:47pm

      glen p why in the world do you believe the "apology"? Sounds like standard response number 26 when caught red-handed.

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      mr_bellows

      Jul 22, 2010 at 8:17pm

      Another example of steroid popping, jack booted thugs who are wholly unqualified to be officers of the Peace. Whether its the Vancouver police or the RCMP...these thugs need to be tested for drugs, evaluated for empathy and life skills and then re-evaluated on a regular basis. And lets put an end to cops investigating cops...save your BS apoligize.

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      Therzo38

      Jul 22, 2010 at 9:02pm

      Once again the VPD makes it so hard to have ANY respect for them.

      This ass, and the two sitting on their asses so to speak, should be fired with no questions asked. What kind of union or brotherhood would defend this? If any, there's a serious problem. Yeah, he made a mistake. A mistake that any sane, thinking individual would not have made. No excuse here.

      The thugs known as VPD deserve no respect. Respect must be earned.

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      flip side

      Jul 22, 2010 at 9:08pm

      Look how disgusting that street looks...and its like that every day!

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      Poverty Sucks and Discrimination Hurts

      Jul 23, 2010 at 8:27am

      Poverty is hard to bear and the affects there in but if ever I seen a sad state of affairs it is the VPD as I've seen officers in action myself as elderly women is shoved and officer stands there with his foot on women's face. All part of the job as its like the homeless, as many of the disabled are discriminated against and forced to live on the streets because of poverty where the treatment is inhuman no doubt. This treatment can be found across the board in most BC government Ministries as didn't understand during the Olympics why torches disgurised as diabled rag dolls where not handed out, and that is no lie as it is not the only sport the Olympics game up to as the poor in this province are the real sport as hatred rules and is a common day occurence in the province of BC.

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      Jeremy of the APC

      Jul 23, 2010 at 1:31pm

      Just to clarify for Glen up top;

      I don't "expect police to be above these mistakes". Quite the opposite sir.

      I expect this behaviour from police as standard op procedure, followed by a PR offensive for damage control when a particularly iconic incident is caught on camera. The fact that this women is disabled means it's potentially more damaging to PR than your usual police brutality incident.

      Ultimately, her disability is irrelevant to the issue.

      The inherent attitude that goes along with the mandate given to the VPD is the problem. The nature of policing, and of course, the level of discontent in a community that keeps police under scrutiny.

      The grim reality is, that an organized and angry community will force the police to behave themselves (to a point). Vancouver is mostly clueless about politics, so the VPD has a very long leash because no-one is checking them. To me, thats more grim than all the poverty and substance abuse in the DTES.

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      Jeremy of the APC

      Jul 23, 2010 at 1:54pm

      Hey Glen P Robbins:

      What's grim to me is a complete failure by the Vancouver body politic to understand how you control your local police force.

      (hint: unflinching, constant and independent public scrutiny)

      The comment thread for the original article shows that many Vancouverites won't acknowledge police misconduct even when they see video documentation.

      Even when the cops make a public apology, there's still people out there willing to argue there's nothing wrong with this incident?! Talk about indoctrinated ...

      I don't "expect police to be above these mistakes" unless you mean that this incident took place on camera. This stuff happens all the time in this town. The VPD have a very long leash because there's a culture of complicity in Vancouver.

      Also, the public apologies and internal investigations are a sad joke.

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      RodSmelser

      Jul 23, 2010 at 2:14pm

      ===>>> Jeremy of the APC

      What does APC stand for?
      Rod Smelser

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      @RobSmellser

      Jul 24, 2010 at 11:18am

      What's your take on the Frank Paul case?

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