Police officers found to have committed misconduct in Vancouver welfare check that turned into brawl
BURNABY, B.C. -- A public hearing examining the conduct of two Vancouver police officers, who responded to an East Vancouver home to perform a wellness check, found on Thursday that both officers abused their authority by recklessly using unnecessary force.
In her decision, retired judge Carol Baird Ellan found the misconduct allegations under the Police Act, which stem from an incident in March 2016, against both Const. Eric Ludeman and Const. Neil Logan to be substantiated.
Both officers also faced additional misconduct allegations of unlawful entry: Ellan found that allegation was substantiated in the case of Const. Ludeman, but not substantiated in the case of Const. Logan.
Ellan indicated she believed Logan was following to provide cover after Ludeman made the decision to enter the home.
The officers had responded to the East Vancouver home of Vladimir and Natalia Tchaikoun after a 911 call from a neighbour requesting a check on Natalia’s well-being.
Records of the case from the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner indicate that what began as a door knock with Vladimir responding escalated into both officers entering the Tchaikouns' home and eventually, into a physical fight with members of the Tchaikoun family in and around a bathroom.
Records show Vladimir suffered significant injuries, including a probable concussion, damaged teeth, severe bruising of the entire body including face, head, arms, legs, chest, back and abdomen, and also multiple lacerations on his head, face, lips, nose.
“(The officers') approach at the time was more consistent with an assault investigation than a well-being check,” the adjudicator said in her decision.
Ellan added that Const. Ludeman was “cavalier” in his “use of force as an expedient alternative to less intrusive available alternatives” and that both officers acted recklessly in part because they failed to consider whether the use of force was necessary.
As a result of the brawl, several members of the Tchaikoun family were arrested and charged with assaulting an officer. Those charges were later stayed.
The decision in the public hearing comes after a separate review under the Police Act found in 2019 that the allegations of misconduct against both officers were not substantiated.
The current hearing now moves to the penalty phase, where the adjudicator is expected to hear evidence and decide what discipline, if any, the officers should receive.
The VPD's director of public affairs said in a statement, "We respect the decision of the adjudicator and will await further direction on corrective discipline."
Simi Heer said Const. Ludeman is still an active member of the VPD.
Const. Logan is currently suspended from the VPD with pay after he was criminally charged in an unrelated matter.