Police chief Jim Chu blames Vancouver riot on "criminals, anarchists and thugs"
The violence and destruction in downtown Vancouver Wednesday night involved triple the number of people that participated in the riot following the Canucks’ 1994 Stanley Cup loss, according to Vancouver police chief Jim Chu.
But Chu, who blamed the majority of the mayhem on “criminals, anarchists and thugs,” said officers were able to bring the situation under control in three hours, half the time it took them in 1994.
“There was a group of people that were criminals and anarchists that were bent on causing that destruction,” he told reporters at a news conference today (June 16).
“They came prepared – they had incendiary devices, they had weapons, they had a plan, they had objectives.”
Chu said some rioters came armed with masks, goggles, gasoline and fire extinguishers.
The chaos that erupted at about 8 p.m. following the Canucks' 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins resulted in fifteen burned cars, including two police cars, and extensive property damage and looting.
Police have not released information yet on the number of injuries, but assistant fire chief Wade Pierlot said there were 387 incidents in the city last night, which consisted mainly of fire and nuisance calls.
One man is in critical condition after falling from the Georgia Viaduct. Witnesses indicated he was not pushed but was trying to jump from one part of the viaduct to another, according to Chu.
“We are looking into his background, but it does not look like it was an incident that involved foul play, it involved reckless behaviour,” he said.
Nine police officers were injured, including one officer who required 14 stitches after he was hit in the head with a brick after trying to stop looters at a sporting goods shop. Another officer received a concussion after being hit in the head below his helmet, while some officers suffered human bites.
Pierlot said some fire inspectors on the street were physically accosted. Other fire and rescue officers had difficulty accessing the fires.
“The angry crowd’s something that we’re not exposed to very often ”¦the way of actually being treated was new to many of us, so it was a new experience,” said Pierlot. “We also had rocks and bottles thrown at us in our trucks.”
Chu maintained police had been preparing for a similar scenario to the riots that erupted in 1994.
He defended the police department's approach in quelling the chaos, noting the size of the crowd initially made it difficult for officers to deal with it effectively. He said police quickly shifted from a "meet and greet" approach to one of crowd dispersal and safety.
"Our members temporarily left hot spots so they could regroup in larger units to have sufficient members to safely encourage the crowd to disperse and to take assertive action when they wouldn’t," he said.
Chu said there close to 100 arrests Wednesday night, and police intend to make many more.
As of this morning, police have received 120 tips on their tip line, and police are asking members of the public to send them their photos and videos of the riots.
“We are fully committed to tracking down these criminals, and arresting them for their crimes,” he said.
The police chief recognized the people in the crowd who showed “humanity, integrity and courage”.
He said when the riot broke out at one of the outdoor Stanley Cup viewing sites, a group of citizens linked arms to form a barrier so police could rescue an injured person lying on the ground.
Chu said every aspect of last night’s events will be examined over the coming weeks and months.
You can follow Yolande Cole on Twitter at twitter.com/yolandecole.
Jun 16, 2011 at 1:34pm
Good job VPD, you did what you could and no lawsuits will be pending....lets remember that the hooligans / criminals caused property damege that will mean increase in Taxes and Insurance rates for all Honest Citizens...I want all these hooligans identified and shamed in a public forum
Jun 16, 2011 at 1:52pm
Most of the people involved were wearing Canucks jerseys. Lots of regular looking young people kicking at windows, not "thugs", not "anarchists". The police and politicos can't handle the truth: the state reaps what the state sows. Hype a violent sport, hype Don Cherry, hype a false nationalism to get people riled up, this is the what you get from normal people.
Hopefully one day Vancouver will develop some real culture instead.
Jun 16, 2011 at 2:22pm
Because when someone wears a Canucks jersey, it means that they weren't there to just start shit. If five people were dressed as priests and started looting, I'm guessing you'd say to the police chief, "Most people out there weren't anarchists, they were priests!"
Jun 16, 2011 at 2:53pm
Please be more responsible in your choice of words. An anarchist is a person who has a particular political ideology. The word is not a synonym for "violent criminal" or "thug running rampant"! Many anarchists are pacifists, and very few take any interest in organized sports. Anarchist philosophy tends to appeal more to intellectuals than to drunken hockey fans.
A woman posted on Facebook about overhearing a conversation on an incoming bus where a group were discussing plans to loot and riot after the game. It seems they got off on that sort of thing. She assumed they were fantasizing, since who would discuss such a scheme openly if they were actually planning to do it? But she later recognized some of their faces among those arrested - neither anarchists nor hockey fans, just criminals.
But somehow I doubt there were enough professional criminals to fill up several blocks with rioters.
Jun 16, 2011 at 2:59pm
"Our members temporarily left hot spots so they could regroup". WTF?? Chu was fiddling while Rome burned. Too bad Chu and the VPD weren't as prepared as the organized rioters. I SAW [and have pictures] of dozens of VPD casually "regrouping" at Granville and Nelson 20 minutes after the game ended, while I could see a huge plume of smoke coming from hear Rogers. I fully support Police, Fire, Ambulance etc who have a helluva hard job, but in this case their leadership [this includes YOU Gregor] lacked balls and brains. Everyone in town seemed to know this was coming except the Mayor and Police Chief. Remember that when civic elections come around....
Jun 16, 2011 at 3:01pm
Last year the G8 in Toronto the police were blamed for being too heavy handed. Today the police are being blamed for not having enough officers on the streets. Give me a break - society has to stop blaming the police and start taking responsibility for their own actions - hooligans, criminals - who cares what they are called they are idiots plain and simple and they all deserve to get shoved in jail. I am utterly disgusted watching the news!
EMBARRASSED TO BE HUMAN
Jun 16, 2011 at 3:16pm
"criminals, anarchists and thugs" ??? or as the Vancouver Sun wrote "Vancouver chief blames Stanley Cup riot on ANARCHISTS"
How about: COMMON DRUNKS RIOT AND DESTROY DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER OVER CANUCKS LOSS.. and then go on to ask for community operation on identifying looters and people who cause property damage... Maybe it's your understanding of Anarchism that made you label these Jocks and common drunks "Anarchists", do some research before you spread lies, this wasn't a protest about anything: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchy#Anarchism
Seems alot of people are hell-bent on thinking many of these fools weren't Canucks fans... I'm sorry but your wrong.... and we have pictures to prove it: http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/06/16/photos-riots-fire-destruction-af...
Jun 16, 2011 at 3:20pm
The people responsible are regular people, there is no damn conspiracy. It was a bunch of drunken morons who did this not a political bogey man. I saw nothing but drunken hooligans destroying everything in sight. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4svnh0TWkQ&feature=share
See the regular looking little girl setting the cop car on fire at 7:53 in the video.
There was no anarchist or evil instigator nothing but a drunken underage girl and a bunch of other hooligans. Perhaps we need to point finger because the regular folks destroyed Vancouver not the bad people. Perhaps your idiot child, neighbor or friend was in the riot and it hits far to close to home?
It would be much nicer to blame the bad anarchist for all our troubles but no it was the beer fueled idiots who crave violence.
The hangers on who crowded the streets egging the assholes on and blocking the ambulance and fire crews from doing there jobs are all regular people.
I feel bad for every single person who was not involved and suffered from this. This is a black eye on Vancouver and the Regular people did it.
Face facts. Look at who looted the London Drugs, Bay, and MAC. Regular boys and Girls in a mob mentality all caught up in a drunk rage. Lets persecute these people to the fullest extent of the law and make them pay for it all. Lets also place the blame where it is due on the individuals not the imaginary ring leaders.
Jun 16, 2011 at 6:31pm
It seems the police, media and politicians are trying to exonerate Canuck fans by making this riot political, blaming anarchists and those against globalization for it. It is doubtful any of the former know what anything about anarchism or the anti globalization ideology or movement. This may be cured by just an undergraduate political science course on ideology or even just a introductory to political ideologies book; unfortunately being informed is not a prerequisite for being a police officer, politician or news media personality. The charges by these people are, of course, being made without even a preliminary investigation into the matter. CTV news channel was, for example. blaming "anarchists and anti globalists" within hours of the riot. You know, because such individuals jump over burning cars and run through stores stealing baseball caps. Looking at the video of those rioting and looting, it's obvious it was primarily just your average young adults. At the end of the day, this rioting is not unique to Vancouver and occurs in many other cities across the world after their respective teams win or loses a championship, including LA, New York, Pittsburgh; even China had riots after Japan won the Asian football championship in 2004.
Jun 16, 2011 at 7:33pm
children of the suburban middle class