Vancouver police accused of breaking teen's arm at concert
Published Tuesday, April 9, 2013 2:33PM PDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 9, 2013 9:09PM PDT
A Vancouver mom is filing a complaint with the Vancouver Police Department after her teenage daughter was arrested at a concert and ended up with a broken arm and severed tendons that needed surgery.
Chas Coutlee says she wants police to answer how her 17-year-old daughter Tanika could be so seriously injured after an arrest that resulted in no charges outside the Pacific Coliseum.
“I’m upset because I’m frustrated she was hurt,” said Coutlee. “My daughter might have a little bit of an attitude but I’ve never broken her arm over it.”
Tanika Coutlee was inside the all-ages Calvin Harris concert on March 30. Her two friends bought tickets from scalpers that weren’t accepted at the door.
Coutlee says security allowed her out of the venue to say goodbye to them at about 10:30 p.m. that night, but then didn’t allow her back in.
“I said ‘I paid for this, I paid over $100, I’m getting back in.’ They pushed me out,” she told CTV News. “Before I knew it I had my arms tied behind my back, I was lifted off the ground, and I started freaking out.”
Coutlee, who says she weighs about 100 pounds, fought back against the security guards and then the police joined the fray. She was put face-down on the pavement and then lifted up by a police officer. That’s when she said the injury happened.
She was taken into custody at the venue and police called her mom to pick her up. When the pair walked away from the Pacific Coliseum Tanika Coutlee says she complained that there was something wrong with her arm.
The arm swelled up and bruised the next day. She visited a doctor at Royal Columbian Hospital, who said she had a broken arm with ripped tendons that required surgery.
Vancouver Police won’t talk about what happened to a minor, but they did acknowledge that they had several incidents involving intoxicated young people at the event. Ambulances were present for more severe cases, said spokesman Const. Brian Montague.
Montague said he would like the family to complain to them so that the force can investigate what happened with their professional standards department.
“The allegations I’m hearing are concerning to us,” he said.
Tanika Coutlee said she had four shots of alcohol about an hour before the incident, but denied that she was drunk and out of control.
“I was coherent,” she said. “I was completely reasonable until they put their hands on me…They used excessive force. No matter how aggressive I might have been they didn’t have to break my arm.”
BC Civil Liberties Association President Josh Paterson said police are able to deal with drunk people without causing serious injury.
“Even if someone is upset, certainly, when there’s this kind of injury produced by an interaction with police it raises serious questions for us about the amount of force that was used and whether that was appropriate,” Paterson said.
Coutlee says she will not be able to teach gymnastics or work on school art projects until she recovers from surgery.