Caught on cam: Allegation of police brutality in DTES
VANCOUVER -- Cell phone video shows a man in the Downtown Eastside being pushed to the pavement during an arrest.
Ally Mallalieu recorded the 10-minute video, which shows police officers approaching the man and the subsequent arrest.
She believes the officers acted violently when the man had already surrendered.
“He got on the ground, on his knees, he put his hands up and as soon as his hands were in the air, a police officer came from behind him and threw him to the ground so hard that he started vomitting,” Mallalieu told CTV News Vancouver.
The thud of the man’s body being shoved to the ground is audible in the video.
As a support worker in the neighbourhood, she said she often sees questionable interactions between police and people in the DTES, which has prompted her to record anytime she sees officers.
“I never hope to catch anything on camera when police are responding down here, but unfortunately, it happens quite often,” she said.
A spokesperson for the Vancouver Police Department described the man as “dangerous,” adding the members were responding accordingly with the information that he had a weapon.
“The Vancouver police did respond to a serious incident of a man with a knife in the Downtown Eastside, the man was taken into custody before he injured anyone. I am limited to what I can say as it is still under investigation,” said Const. Tania Visintin.
Visintin confirmed via email on Friday that police have recommended "several charges" against the man to Crown. Those charges are "pertaining to assault and threats," Visintin said. She declined to provide additional detail, saying the matter is before the courts.
Mallalieu said the man wasn’t seen with any knife and the way he was treated wasn’t justified.
“He was not in a position where he could have reached for a weapon even if he had one on him,” she said. “They could have handled it more respectfully and, I mean, they're not the judge and jury. They can't, you know, just hurt him because they feel he's committed a crime. He has his right to his day in court.”
She said she wants the officers held accountable and filed a complaint with the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.
“I think stuff like this happens all the time, but it gets missed, because a lot of the people down here don't have the ability to file complaints or don't even know that they can,” she said.
The OPCC confirmed to CTV News it is looking into what happened, adding it will ensure there is a “thorough investigation” into the complaint of excessive force.
A portion of Mallalieu's video is embedded below.
Warning: The video contains language and actions that some viewers may find upsetting.