Vancouver police use Taser on suicidal man, give each other fist bumps in social media video
A social media video that captures the moment a man gets Tasered by a Vancouver police officer is prompting calls for more training for police going out on mental health calls.
It happened Saturday near Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Police Department said someone called 911 about a suicidal man who was acting erratically and placing himself in danger.
Jessica Wetzstein posted parts of the incident on social media. In her videos, she can be heard gasping in shock that the man gets Tasered.
"Why did they do that? He wasn't resisting in any way," she can be heard saying.
The video shows six police officers standing in a semi circle around the man, and without notice, a female officer discharges the Taser.
"This man is clearly having a mental health episode. He's been sitting up here screaming," Wetzstein said.
The VPD confirmed the man was having a mental health crisis and when officers asked him to go to hospital for a psychological assessment, he refused.
"It's frightening to think that's who will deal with a mental health crisis," said Sarah Blyth, a Downtown Eastside advocate. "Who would ask for help in a suicide call if that's the help that came?"
"I've seen compassion come from the police on many occasions, but I've also seen police deal with things where they create a way worse situation than was necessary," she said.
In an email, Sgt. Steve Addison said police have the authority to arrest anyone who they believe is a danger to themselves or others and must take that person to a doctor for assessment. He added they are also authorized to use as much force as necessary as they execute their duties.
"Conducted energy weapons are carried by specially-trained VPD officers and are used to prevent bodily harm to police and the public. They can also be used to prevent a person from self-harm," Sgt. Addison wrote.
But Rob Gordon, a criminology professor at Simon Fraser University, said there is reason to scrutinize the use of a Taser in this situation.
"On the basis of the limited footage I have seen this afternoon, and my involvement in both the national and the provincial reviews following the Braidwood Inquiry, I suspect there is enough doubt to warrant an investigation into the conduct of the officers with respect to their decision to use a conducted energy weapon," he told CTV News.
Questions are also being raised about the officers' conduct after the man was Tasered.
Minutes after the incident, while some of the officers were tending to the man, one male officer fist-bumped the female officer who discharged the conducted energy weapon.
When questioned why that happened, Sgt. Addison wrote: "(It) wouldn’t be appropriate to speculate without full context, however it’s common for police officers to use non-verbal cues to check in on each other during dynamic and high-stress situations. This is sometimes called a buddy-check."
Blyth called the fist-bump highly inappropriate.
"I can't imagine any context where a person would be happy to Tase a suicidal person. It's completely outrageous," she said.
Police said the man was taken to hospital for a mental health evaluation.
He was also wanted on two warrants and was taken into custody.
Vancouver Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Thousands of people wearing red and white and waiving Canadian flags packed downtown Ottawa to celebrate Canada's 155th birthday on Friday, while groups of protesters popped up around Parliament Hill to protest COVID-19 vaccines and federal restrictions.
Canada Day has kicked off the unofficial start of summer, and the tourism sector is hopeful the first season in three years largely free of COVID-19 restrictions will marshal a much-needed boost for a pandemic-stricken industry.
Biden intends to nominate a conservative, anti-abortion lawyer to federal judgeship, Kentucky Democrats say
U.S. President Joe Biden intends to nominate an anti-abortion Republican lawyer to a federal judgeship, two Kentucky Democrats informed of the decision say.
Moving toward reconciliation doesn't come from jumping 'the queue to perfection,' but by building bridges and trusting one another, Canadian singer-songwriter Chantal Kreviazuk told CTV News Channel during Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa on Friday.
In the wake of last year’s discoveries of unmarked graves at residential schools and the prominent displays of the Canadian flag during 'Freedom Convoy' protests, some Canadians are re-evaluating the meaning of the national symbol.
'Not going to happen in our lifetime': First-time homebuyers share their struggles with purchasing a home
A recent survey shows nearly 50 per cent of Canadians who rent expect to do so forever. As rising interest and inflation rates contribute to a sense of pessimism among first-time homebuyers in Canada, some are sharing their struggles with purchasing their first house.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is calling on Canadians to recommit to the country’s values, including respect, hope and kindness, in his official Canada Day message.
The Assembly of First Nations says an Ontario court has rejected a bid by National Chief RoseAnne Archibald to overturn her recent suspension.
Infection with HIV can accelerate aging within the first two to three years of infection, study says
Living with HIV may have an immediate effect on how your body ages, according to new research which showed that cellular aging was sped up within two to three years of infection.
A Vancouver Island real estate agent has lost his bid to recover a deposit he made on a new Ford Mustang that he intended to offer as a prize in a year-long contest in 2020.
A search for two "suspicious" men in Saanich Thursday afternoon ended with no risk to the public, police said.
There was more frustration for BC Ferries passengers at the Horseshoe Bay terminal Friday, with some waits extending upwards of five hours at the outset of the long weekend.
Thousands of Calgarians gather for restriction-free Canada Day festivities with focus on reconciliation
Friday marked the first Canada Day in two years without any public health restrictions, which meant Calgarians were finally able to gather at several in-person events across the city.
Members of Calgary’s Vietnamese community gathered Friday at The Journey to Freedom Park to celebrate the unveiling of a meaningful monument.
The Flames lost their longtime organist Friday, when Willy Joosen died.
From drumming circles, charity runs, to a healing walk, Edmontonians found a way to celebrate their country or reflect on its past in a manner that felt right to them.
An explosive comeback will light up the Edmonton sky Friday night as Canada Day fireworks return to pre-pandemic proportions.
A local beekeeper is asking for help to rescue a colony of honeybees from a junior high school.
Ontario drivers experienced some relief from record-setting prices at the pump on Friday as the province's gas tax cut came into effect.
One of Toronto’s Canada Day fireworks displays has been cancelled and another has been postponed after a vendor pulled out at the last minute.
Three people are dead, and two others are seriously injured, including a child, in a collision in Brock Township.
A prominent housing advocacy group fears Quebec could see an increase in households left without a permanent place to live as leases expire across the province on July 1.
Environment Canada is advising severe thunderstorms could bring high winds, large hail, and heavy rain to several areas in south-central Quebec Friday.
A group of Indigenous people in Quebec expressed disappointment and concern Friday after learning that only 400 seats will be reserved for residential school survivors at the Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré during Pope Francis' visit on July 28.
In-person Canada Day festivities made a return on Friday for the first time since the pandemic started, with residents bringing back old traditions and creating new ones.
A pro-choice rally was held at the Manitoba Legislative Building on Friday -- a week after Roe v. Wade was reversed by the United States Supreme Court.
Officers with the Manitoba RCMP have confirmed that a body was found in the Assiniboine River on Thursday.
Canada Day will look a little different in Saskatoon as things move downtown.
It's been 25 years since Saskatchewan's last residential school closed, but some are still healing.
The City of Saskatoon will be running 46 summer play programs from July 4 until August 25.
The COVID-19 pandemic hindered Canada Day celebrations for the past two years. But on Saturday, the red and white was back in full force in Regina with events all around the city.
Both the City of Regina and the provincial government remind travellers to stay safe due to the increased number of people travelling for the Canada Day long weekend.
Regina police responded to an early morning report of a break and enter into a business on the 3700 block of Eastgate Drive East on Friday.
The spouse of the gunman in the Nova Scotia mass shooting will testify mid-July before a public inquiry, but she won't face direct questions from lawyers representing victims' families.
As Claire Mahaney-Lion dropped her son off at school this morning, she questioned the reasons behind scheduling a school day that would last fewer than two hours.
Saint John is having its dog day. The host city of the 2022 Memorial Cup is celebrating after the Saint John Sea Dogs bested the Hamilton Bulldogs 6-3 in front of a capacity crowd during Wednesday's championship game at TD Station.
With his wife Joyce on his arm, Tom Hennessy left Victoria Park in London, Ont. to complete his 100-mile walk to raise money for homeless veterans.
After a two-year break due to COVID-19, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics was back Friday in London.
Close to 1,000 people are at Victoria Park in London, Ont Friday morning for the second annual Turtle Island Healing Walk.
Hundreds of people lined up for free hot dogs and for fun in the suds in Hollinger Park in Timmins on Canada Day. The event was hosted by the City of Timmins and the Timmins Community Park Association.
The Sudbury Wolves have selected two players from Slovakia in today’s 2022 CHL Import Draft.
For Ukrainians who were able to flee from Russia's invasion into the country, Canada has become a safe haven.
Emergency service workers in the Region of Waterloo kicked off a friendly competition Friday to see which team can donate the most blood by Labour Day.
OPP are trying to identify a man who they say was involved in an "unwanted residential paving incident" in Puslinch, Ont.
Waterloo Region held its first in-person Canada Day celebrations since 2019 and there were several local events for residents to show off their Canadian pride.