Second arrested Pidgin protester to appear in court

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      Protests outside Pidgin restaurant will have to do without a familiar face for now. Following her arrest by Vancouver police on June 3, anti-gentrification activist Kim Hearty said that an order prohibits her from coming within a six-block radius of the Downtown Eastside establishment.

      “When they [police] pulled me out of my cell after two hours and said like, ‘Would you accept these conditions?'…I was already freezing and really tired and just wanted to get the hell out of there because I've never been in jail before,” Hearty related in a phone interview with the Straight on Wednesday (June 5). “And so I accepted the no-go order.”

      Hearty says she's scheduled to appear before a court on June 17. She'll probably know more about her legal situation that day, including how long she'll be the subject of a no-go order. Police announced Tuesday (June 4) that they are recommending charges of assault, theft under $5,000, and mischief. “The [Pidgin] pickets will continue and will probably grow,” Hearty said. She mentioned that she will participate in other anti-gentrification actions in the neighbourhood.

      While he says the protests aren't driving business away from Pidgin, restaurant co-owner Brandon Grossutti said that these actions have been a “frustrating” experience for him.

      “It seems like people think or, in a lot of [the] press, that we're just some big thing, and we're not,” Grossutti told the Straight in a phone interview. “We're just a couple of guys trying to support our families, and the families of those [working] inside our restaurant.”

      According to him, protests are diverting attention “from a lot of the real problems in the neighbourhood”, like a lack of affordable housing.

      “Closing down a restaurant doesn't address any of those problems,” Grossutti said. “And I wish that the protesters will put their efforts towards solutions in the Downtown Eastside, rather than just a restaurant.”

      Grossutti maintained that Hearty assaulted him on May 29 when he tried to prevent her from stealing property that belongs to the restaurant. He declined to provide details.

      Hearty, who is also the corresponding secretary of the civic party the Coalition of Progressive Electors, claimed on June 5 that she was trying to recover a papier-mâché pickle that was supposedly taken by Grossutti. The paper pickle is part of the paraphernalia used by the protesters.




      Jun 5, 2013 at 5:37pm

      The cops have been observed chatting with Pidgin owner Brandon Grossutti and Brandon has been observed many times crossing the street to chat with the cops watching the picketers.
      They appear to be very friendly.

      So now Brandon claims that Kim Hearty tried to steal property from his restaurant but can't provide details.
      Strange he can't identify what she supposedly tried to steal?

      Also Kim "assaulted" him-he's a lot bigger than Kim-does he have any details about this supposed "assault"? Anyone witness it?

      Kim may not be allowed within 6 blocks of Pidgin but lots of us can take her place and keep the picket going.

      Brandon Grossutti

      Jun 5, 2013 at 8:20pm

      Jennifer of DTES copwatch videotaped it as well as witnesses inside the restaurant. I didn't want to give specific details of an incident going to court.

      Oh brother

      Jun 5, 2013 at 8:20pm

      Cathy, you guys are a joke. Get a life. Your cause is legit but your methods are so wrong on so many levels. You guys do more damage for the image of the downtown east side than good. You and your crew should get some class.


      Jun 5, 2013 at 8:23pm've lost. It's time to do something more productive.

      Gary K

      Jun 5, 2013 at 9:09pm

      Let me get this straight. You Don't like the idea of Gentrification, you want to live in a slum for the rest of your life, want to live in a ramshackle old building? This is what your going to get and rightly so. With Gentrification comes new and improved housing and yes, Social Housing and maybe a better way of life. If you want to live in a slum, don't take others with you.


      Jun 5, 2013 at 9:35pm

      What are the protestors suppose to do then? They are not stupid they know what is going on and what the money is trying to do in the DTES. They will be drawn to what is visible and what seems out of place to them in the DTES. And so this restaurant gets protested and any other businesses that are so visible. It's not over by along shot no way.


      Jun 5, 2013 at 10:12pm

      How thrilled COPE must be with this example of ingenious thinking. The problems with the DTES? Too many new Asian fusion restaurants. Ah, at last, we understand.

      Martin Dunphy

      Jun 5, 2013 at 10:23pm

      There are a lot of reactions one can have to this kind of protest, and the arguments can make sense on both sides.

      One thing occurs to me, though: virtually every time the impoverished downtown residents are given an escape route from the DTES (not that they should need one) through the construction of shelters for the homeless, residences or rehab facilities for the mentally disadvantaged or addicted, etcetera, they are met by throngs of placard-waving, meeting-packing NIMBYs who try to prevent them from even setting foot in <em>their</em> neighbourhoods.

      Turnaround is fair play, in my opinion.

      Van city love

      Jun 5, 2013 at 11:38pm

      Excellent point @ Martin

      Alan Layton

      Jun 6, 2013 at 8:32am

      @Martin - that's not true. I live half a block from a 9-story, low-income condo building that is halfway built and even though the neighbourhood pleaded with the city to not put it up (or make it smaller), they didn't listen. Not only will this place have space for low income people but also recovering addicts, people with mental problems and the worst-case, young people who have been in foster care all of their lives and have no idea how to live in society. This is in the East Vancouver and the city has similar plans for many of their properties throughout the city, including Dunbar and Kits. So these places are going to be built, regardless, and the one thing I doubt you're going to see is groups of angry demonstrators harassing the people who will be living in these buildings.