Stun grenade, police dog used to nab prolific offenders in Burnaby
Published Friday, September 15, 2017 4:16PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, September 15, 2017 6:46PM PDT
Police are defending the level of force used to arrest two career criminals in Burnaby last month after video of the dramatic takedown was uploaded to social media.
The Facebook video shows an unmarked Vancouver Police Department SUV ramming into a dark-coloured sedan in the middle of a quiet residential street on Aug. 10.
Heavily armed tactical officers then approach the car and deploy a stun grenade. One suspect gets out and surrenders, but the other remains in the vehicle until he's dragged onto the street by a police dog.
Since the video was uploaded this week, some social media users have questioned whether that much force was necessary. Const. Jason Doucette defended officers' actions Friday as being in the public interest.
"Use of force is almost never pretty. It doesn’t look good," Doucette said.
"We did have some information that it was necessary to get these people into custody to protect public safety and prevent further crime."
The two men were suspects in a break-and-enter committed early that morning at a retail store in Abbotsford. Vancouver police, who are very familiar with the prolific offenders, managed to stop them in Burnaby.
Both suspects were ultimately charged with break-and-enter. Richard William Hamvai, a 52-year-old from Maple Ridge, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 11 months in jail. Jacob Barry Wallis, 35, of Abbotsford, has not entered a plea.
Records show the men have extensive criminal histories, with dozens of charges between them ranging from assault to escaping custody. Hamvai was also named as one of the Top 10 most wanted car thieves in Metro Vancouver earlier this year.
Doucette said using a police car to ram and halt a suspect vehicle is a "rarely used technique," but it was deployed successfully and neither suspect was injured. One of the men did have to be treated for a dog bite.
"Our officers felt that these steps had to be taken. The decision was made in a split-second but we knew that these people had to be apprehended at this time," Doucette said.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Sheila Scott