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Police shoot wrong man with rubber bullets during 'mistaken arrest' in Vancouver

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Police shot an innocent man with rubber bullets during what authorities have acknowledged was a "mistaken arrest" in downtown Vancouver last week.

B.C.'s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner has been notified about the incident, which took place Wednesday in the city's Yaletown neighbourhood, and will be conducting an independent review of the circumstances.

Sgt. Steve Addison, a spokesperson with the Vancouver Police Department, said the officers involved in the arrest had received "reliable information" that a suspect in a Calgary home invasion was near Richards Street and Pacific Boulevard.

An Emergency Response Team was deployed over concerns the suspect might be armed, and officers located a man in the area and shot him with two rounds from a less-lethal ARWEN gun.

"After he was taken into custody, within a few minutes, we were able to confirm his identification and we learned that he, in fact, wasn't the suspect out of Calgary," Addison said.

"He was treated by an ambulance at the roadside at the arrest location. He didn't require hospitalization at that time."

Addison said the man "bore a resemblance" to the suspect they were looking for, but did not explain why officers decided to use force while arresting him. He said that would be part of the OPCC's review.

"Obviously a very unfortunate set of circumstances," Addison added.

"We think it's really important that Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner conduct an independent review of all of the circumstances here to determine exactly what happened, and we fully support that."

Officers apologized to the man at the scene, and senior officials with the Vancouver Police Department have since extended apologies of their own.

Addison said the man has been in touch with victim services, as well as the department's forensic identification unit, which has documented bruising he suffered during the arrest. 

With files from CTV News Vancouver's Spencer Harwood

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