Outed on Facebook, alleged rioter claims innocence
Published Thursday, June 16, 2011 5:29PM PDT
A man whose Facebook posts went viral because of their claims of having "kicked a lot of riot pigs' shields" and been covered in "blood that wasn't his" denies having anything to do with a riot.
Billy Chickite, who travelled down for the game on Friday from Quadra Island, says that despite a wall post reading "RIOT RIOT RIOT THAT'S ALL I'M GOING TO BE CHANTING SOON" he had nothing to do with any violence.
"I didn't post that on the internet," Chickite told CTV News. "So many people have my password. I didn't post that at all."
Chickite's claims could be checked by authorities, who can use cell phone records to track postings as part of a police investigation.
But if the posts are legitimately Chickite's, it would undermine claims by Vancouver police that the riots were sparked by a small group of anarchists.
"Our city was vulnerable to a number of men and women disguised as Canucks fans who were criminals and anarchists," Chief Jim Chu said at a press conference Thursday.
"They came equipped with gasoline and fire extinguishers which were used as weapons."
Some of the rioters were recognized by officers as the same people behind a disturbance during the Winter Olympic Games, when anarchists donned black clothing and smashed windows in downtown Vancouver, Chu said.
But many more were recognized by acquaintances and friends as pictures of people behaving badly were identified through other websites.
One of the most widely read was a post apparently by a man named Brock Anton, who wrote, "Maced in the face, hit with a Batton [sic], tear gassed twice… punched a f---ken pif in the head with riot gear on knocked him to the ground, through [sic] the jersey on a burning cop car, flipped some cars, burnt some smart cars, burnt some cop cars, I'm on the news… One word… History."
Another person named Ashley Pehota wrote, "Brockkkk! take this down!!! its evidence! [sic throughout]"
Chickite, who family members said is the cousin of a councillor in the We Wai Kai Nation, left for Vancouver on Tuesday afternoon.
A post on his Facebook wall Tuesday at 2:59 p.m. says: "On my way to Van for the riot." On Wednesday at 8:58 a.m., a post in all caps says "RIOT RIOT RIOT RIOT THAT'S ALL I'M GOING TO BE CHANTING SOON."
Chickite says it wasn't him and he hasn't been arrested or charged. "It wasn't me doing anything -- everyone was just trying to get out. Someone else stole my phone."
His mother told CTV News that Chickite isn't an anarchist or a career rioter.
Outside the Vancouver police jail Thursday, it was a walk of shame for people who had been taken into custody.
A 20-year-old man with a neck tattoo who gave his name as Cody said the jails were so packed with as many as 150 people that he was put in women's cells.
He said he was picked up by police at about 10:30 p.m.
"A whole bunch of cars got tipped," he said. "I got taken down by police. Sh** got wild last night."
Cody said that he faces seven charges related to Wednesday night's chaos. He said that it was the second time he'd been released from custody in two days – the first was Wednesday morning, which he said was just in time for Game 7.
Another woman said she had been arrested and charged with possession of stolen property. When asked if she knew the purse was stolen, she said, "I had a good idea, but I didn't steal it myself, so I didn't see anything wrong with it."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Bhinder Sajan