Off-duty cops arrested for assault released
Published Thursday, January 22, 2009 8:33AM PST
Three off-duty suburban Vancouver police officers have been released from custody after being arrested on allegations they assaulted and robbed a man.
Vancouver police Constable Jana McGuinness says no charges had yet been filed. An investigation continues, and witnesses are still being interviewed.
The three officers from three different suburban departments were arrested early Wednesday and released last night around 9 p.m.
Police say the men were involved in an altercation with a 47-year-old Surrey man outside of the Hyatt hotel in downtown Vancouver.
He was delivering newspapers at the time to outside pay boxes and local hotels in the 600-block of Burrard St. Witnesses say he was stopped and asked for directions and a scuffle ensued.
The victim's employer says he was shaken up and checked for a concussion but not seriously injured. He will take the next few days off.
The officers taken into custody for assault and robbery work for police departments in West Vancouver, New Westminster and Delta.
Delta Police say its officer under review is a 28-year-old patrol officer with three years' experience. A spokesperson says the officer is still on active patrol but could be suspended or reassigned.
Speaking for the West Vancouver Police Department, Cpl. Fred Harding says its officer in question is a junior constable with the force with one year's experience.
West Vancouver's Professional Standards Section has initiated a Police Act investigation into that officer's conduct.
The quick flurry of statements by four police departments came after criticism last year that information regarding charges against police officers in the Vancouver region was sometimes slow to trickle out to the public.
Several incidents last year involved impaired-driving charges against five officers -- three Mounties and constables from Vancouver and New Westminster.
New Westminster Const. Tomi Hamner pleaded guilty last month after driving her unmarked police vehicle into a sign while off duty in October. She was fined $1,000 and lost her driver's license for a year.
The other impaired-driving cases, including one against a Richmond RCMP officer involved in the notorious Taser incident that ended in the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski, are still pending.
McGuinness said the officers involved in Wednesday's incident got no special consideration.
"There's no exceptions made for the fact that they are police officers," she said. "When we receive information like this, we want to get that out. There's no reason to withhold it."
Statistics released by the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner in November found that 106 municipal police officers were guilty of misconduct between Oct. 1, 2006, and Oct. 1, 2008.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Stephen Smart and files from The Canadian Press