'He just went zero to 100': Man taken to the ground during Vancouver police traffic stop
VANCOUVER -- Roshan Soroush-Nasab was out for a joy ride on his motorcycle with his friends Sunday, when a few other riders that they didn’t know joined in. As the group passed the Cassiar tunnel, a police officer turned on his lights and one of the riders the group didn’t know took off, according to Soroush-Nasab.
“We just pulled over and slowed down,” he told CTV News Vancouver. “We were assuming he was going to come back and get us.”
When the officer was seen chasing a different biker, the group continued on.
“(We crossed) the ironworkers bridge and he was standing at the end, off his bike with his baton,” said Soroush-Nasab.
The group pulled over, but the other rider they didn’t know fled.
“(The officer) tried to push him off of his bike into oncoming traffic and he managed to get away,” Soroush-Nasab explained. “The officer came up screaming, ‘Turn off your bikes, take the keys out, give me the keys.’”
At this point, one of his friends started recording the incident on his cell phone. Soroush-Nasab saw his other friend getting handcuffed and went to take off his glove to record on his phone as well, when the officer came over to him.
“I was trying to remove my gloves to press the record button and he approached me and said, ‘Put your phone down. And I responded and said, ‘Well, I have the right to record you,” Soroush-Nasab said. “He just went zero to 100 (and) slammed me to the ground.”
In video of the incident posted on social media, Soroush-Nasab’s friends can be heard shouting, “Why are you arresting him?” They can also be heard explaining that he’s not the one who ran away.
“At no point was I a threat to him,” said Soroush-Nasab.
The officer pinned Soroush-Nasab to the ground and told the other two motorcyclists to sit down where he could see them. Because of the way he was positioned, Soroush-Nasab said, his helmet strap was making it hard to breathe.
“I asked him him several times to release some of his grip, I guess he couldn’t hear me so I ended up screaming at one point, ‘I’m having trouble breathing,’ and he released me a little bit,” Soroush-Nasab said. “He repositioned himself and grabbed my shoulder and kind of held it like that, put a lot of tension on my joint, which now I have some shoulder pain because of that.”
He said he had to go to the hospital for X-rays after the incident and he’s awaiting results.
In an emailed statement to CTV News, Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin said the group was stopped for speeding excessively. She said a traffic stop was conducted, but two of the vehicles did not stop and the officer did not drive after those motorcyclists.
In the video, the officer can be heard telling Soroush-Nasab, “You shouldn’t have resisted me sir.”
“(The video) has been forwarded to our Professional Standards Section,” Visintin said. “PSS has also notified the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner, and as such, we are awaiting the next steps.”
Soroush-Nasab got a ticket for excessive speeding and driving contrary to a licence, as he only has his ‘L.’ His bike was impounded for seven days.
Soroush-Nasab says he’ll “own” the second ticket, but insists he was not speeding.
“(The officer) said he had lasered one of our bikes or something along the lines of that, and we were all travelling at the same speed,” he said.
Soroush-Nasab suggested it may have been one of the other riders who was not part of his group that the officer actually saw speeding.
“After all was said and done, he released me and handed me my ticket and said, ‘I hope you understand the reason I did that was for my own safety because of all the things going on,’" said Soroush-Nasab. “I’m assuming he means all the gang shootings that are going on, but that doesn’t make much sense to me. Are you just going to pull over any young male and assume he’s a risk to you?”
He said he did think the officer felt some remorse for what happened though.
“He said, ‘Dispute the ticket, I’ll come to court and I’ll help you out (of) the ticket,’” said Soroush-Nasab.
But he told CTV News he should never have been thrown to the ground and pinned during a traffic stop. He has filed a complaint for the way he was treated.
“It’s humiliating,” he said. “I got thrown, and sat on the side of the highway, hundreds of people driving by shaking their heads at me like I did something wrong.”
Soroush-Nasab’s shoulder injury is to his dominant arm, and he said it’s making his job as a mechanic a challenge. He also worries he’ll lose his licence because of the excessive speeding ticket.
He said a good start would be an apology and to be reimbursed for his bike being towed.
“I’ve grown to support the police,” he said. “I actually like them. But, you know, something like this happens and it’s just kind of like, ‘I support you guys. I root for you guys. I defend you guys online. People blame you guys for doing the right thing and now this is what I get.’"