Man threatens to stab Vancouver city councillor: video
VANCOUVER -- Warning: This story contains profanity.
A Vancouver city councillor says instinct kicked when he got into a profanity-laden confrontation with a man who he believed was threatening his neighbour — and who then threatened to stab him.
A video recording of the exchange on Friday morning shows councillor Pete Fry ordering the man to leave a doorway near the corner of Hawks Avenue and Union Street, where he was apparently using injection drugs.
“An instinct kicked in that really forced me to protect her,” Fry told CTV News afterwards.
“He got aggressive with her and called her various vile names. So I stepped in and handed my dog off to her and physically put myself in between them and used some salty language to assert the notion I wasn’t going to let this pass,” he said.
Residents of Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood frustrated by the tent city in nearby Strathcona Park are seizing upon the incident as further evidence for their case, but tent city residents dispute any connection.
Camp leader Chrissy Brett said if the man was using drugs during a public health emergency that has resulted in more than 5,000 deaths from poisoned drugs, he would be better off using with supervision at the park encampment, rather than alone in a doorway.
“When you have a home, when you have a place that you can be that is your space, why would you pick somewhere real public?” asked camp leader Chrissy Brett.
The video starts with the unidentified man, who is wearing camouflage clothing and carrying a backpack, calling Fry a “rat ho.”
“Get the fuck out of here,” Fry responds.
“I’ll fucking stab you, buddy, so quick,” the man says.
The man leaves without the incident turning violent. Fry says he wishes in retrospect he had been able to de-escalate the incident.
“I did what I had to do to protect my neighbour, but I worry that someone might have gotten hurt,” he said.
Fry’s neighbour, Kimberley Allen, said she was walking her dog when she found the man using drugs in a doorway, and asked him to move along.
“I asked him to leave, calmly,” Allen said. “He got very angry, stood up to come towards me, and I moved out of the way, fast, and thankfully Pete Fry was nearby and he came between us.”
She said since the tent city moved to Strathcona Park after being evicted from federal port lands, there have been more disturbing incidents on the neighbourhood’s streets.
“That’s the fear that we live with here. Because you see people all the time and you don’t know, you don’t know how they’re going to react. It’s scary,” she said.
Vancouver has seen a surge of homelessness as restrictions on visitors to housing projects during the COVID-19 pandemic led to many evictions. That’s one reason camp organizers say the encampment has grown to 341 people.
Vancouver police say they’re investigating charges of uttering threats. As for Fry, he says next time he will just call the police.