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B.C. liberties group to file complaint of violent arrests at pro-Palestinian protest

The policy director for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association says they will be filing a policy complaint with the Vancouver Police Department's civilian oversight board, saying police used "excessive use of force" at a pro-Palestinian protest last month. Meghan McDermott, policy director for the BCCLA, speaks at a news conference outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters, in Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, June 18, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Brieanna Charlebois The policy director for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association says they will be filing a policy complaint with the Vancouver Police Department's civilian oversight board, saying police used "excessive use of force" at a pro-Palestinian protest last month. Meghan McDermott, policy director for the BCCLA, speaks at a news conference outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters, in Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, June 18, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Brieanna Charlebois
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The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association says it will be filing a complaint with the Vancouver Police Department's civilian oversight board, saying police used "excessive use of force" at a pro-Palestinian protest last month.

The group's policy director Meghan McDermott says the association was "horrified" by police actions on May 31, adding that the complaint will also cite "ongoing surveillance of people attending" protests and rallies, calling it "intimidating" and "invasive to privacy."

Police said in a news release that day that they were called to the scene where "100 protesters, some masked with balaclavas, were blocking vehicle and train traffic in the intersection of Kaslo Street and Grandview Highway."

Const. Tania Visintin said in the release that protesters who were blocking the railway refused multiple requests to move and some "became hostile" with officers and 14 protesters were arrested for mischief and obstruction.

Sukhi Gill, a protest organizer, says officers twisted arms, used pepper spray, put people in headlocks and threw some of them to the concrete.

The Vancouver Police Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the allegations, the status of potential charges following the arrests or its reaction to the BCCLA complaint.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 18, 2024.

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