Cops cleared in Vancouver beating case
Published Wednesday, November 3, 2010 4:58PM PDT
Two police officers who wrongly arrested and roughed up a Vancouver man earlier this year were acting in good faith and did not abuse their authority, police investigators have determined.
Yao Wei Wu was injured by two plainclothes Vancouver officers responding to a call about a domestic dispute in an adjacent suite on Jan. 21. Wu's left eye was swollen shut following the altercation.
But Delta Police Chief Const. Jim Cessford, who investigated the incident, says he has determined that officers Nicholas Florkow and Brian London did not contravene the B.C. Police Act.
"The officers were acting in the course of their duties and in good faith," Cessford wrote in his report, released Wednesday. He said that the officers used reasonable force under the circumstances.
"They had reasonable grounds to believe that an assault had occurred and may be still occurring; they had reasonable and probable grounds to believe that Mr. Wu was the suspect in this assault, or at least an assaultive subject."
The Vancouver Police Department publicly apologized for the wrongful arrest the next day, and Chief Jim Chu spoke personally with Wu to say he was sorry.
On Wednesday, the VPD reiterated its apology in a statement, but said that Florkow and London had only the "best intentions" when they arrested Wu.
"It was unfortunate that our officers had the wrong address and also that Mr. Wu, as we now have learned, saw the officers' badges but unfortunately felt that he had to resist them," the statement read.
"Police officers continually attend calls in progress with incomplete information. They must make difficult split-second decisions in dynamic and stressful situations. Taking the option of disengagement and backing away is often not a viable option."
‘A distortion of the facts'
Wu and his supporters told reporters they were deeply dissatisfied with the Delta Police Department's conclusion about the incident.
According to Cessford's report, the officers tried to enter Wu's suite, but he resisted them. They pushed him to the ground, where he hit his face and injured his eye.
"The investigation report says that the police had reason to beat me. I was beaten by police because I resisted arrest and failed to cooperate and that I fell and injured my eye. That is absolutely a distortion of the facts. The police version is completely false," Wu said in a statement read by a translator.
"Please tell me, if the police knock at the door at midnight, should we open the door or not?"
Wu says that he will persist with a lawsuit against the City of Vancouver and the Corporation of Delta, as well as Florkow and London.