Viral takedown video prompts probe into Vancouver police conduct
Published Wednesday, July 31, 2019 1:41PM PDT
British Columbia’s police watchdog is ordering an official investigation into the conduct of multiple Vancouver Police Department officers, a day after video emerged and was posted on social media of a violent takedown in the city’s Downtown Eastside.
The deputy commissioner for the Officer of the Police Complaint Commissioner, Andrea Spindler, confirmed in an email to CTV News Vancouver Wednesday afternoon that a probe would be launched into officers' use of force, adding that the VPD has a duty to immediately alert the OPCC whenever someone is injured by police and requires medical treatment in hospital.
“That did not occur in this case,” wrote Spindler. “The OPCC has contacted the VPD and has now received information from the department relating to the circumstances of this incident.”
In a nearly two-minute video published on Twitter by @stopdisplacement, a man is seen lying on his back surrounded by several officers on the northeast corner of East Hastings Street and Dunlevy Avenue at around 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday. Officers can be heard instructing the man to roll over onto his stomach several times as more police arrive at the scene.
The man does not follow the instructions at first, instead rolling several times towards a police car parked on Dunlevy before coming to a stop on his right side and then returning onto his back, before several bean bag rounds are fired at the prone man.
Al Fowler, who shot the video, said police had already deployed a Taser by that point, a detail the VPD confirmed to CTV News in an email statement. disclose
Vancouver Police told CTV staff at the nearby Patricia Hotel were concerned for their safety after a man entered the building and began acting aggressively, adding that the man was not a guest at the hotel but is known to staff "from a previous violent incident."
"When officers arrived, they encountered a man who was acting aggressively and appeared to be under the influence of drugs. He lunged at one of the officers and attempted to punch him. The officer was not harmed and was able to deploy his Taser. However, the Taser had little effect," police said.
Police confirmed a 35-year-old man from Surrey was taken to hospital "for an assessment related to drug impairment and the deployment of the Taser and bean bags," adding that charges related to assaulting an officer are anticipated.
In her email, Spindler confirmed that because the video was both “posted on social media and reported in the news,” the Police Complaint Commissioner decided it was in the public interest to divulge that an investigation was forthcoming, adding a “thorough investigation” would be conducted before the officer’s conduct would be judged.
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Dario Balca