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VPD justifies lack of charges in riot investigation
Vancouver police say there's no valid comparison to be made between the riot response of London authorities, who have already charged 1,000 suspects, and their own.
So far, only two suspects have been charged in the June 15 Stanley Cup riot, even though 41 people have turned themselves in.
Police Chief Jim Chu addressed the apparent lack of momentum Wednesday, arguing that rushing charges would only result in more acquittals and lighter sentences.
"People have confessed to a small offence when detailed examination of many video sources indicates they are also involved in more serious crimes," Chu said.
Others have been brought in by their parents only to find there is no evidence linking them to a crime.
Chu said it will still be months before arrests are made in the riot, but urged the public not to compare the investigation with that of London police.
"Canada is not Britain. Our laws are different, our courts are different and our riots are different," Chu said. "To compare us might provoke some entertaining conflict and column fodder, but it is neither fair nor accurate."
Staff Sgt. Lee Patterson, who spent part of his career policing riots in Britain, added that London police have vastly different legal powers at their disposal.
"They are simply not comparable," Patterson said, noting that Vancouver's riot was relatively short and small in comparison.
More than 3,000 people have been arrested in the U.K. since the riots erupted on Aug. 6 and spread to multiple cities over four nights.
Two thirds of charged suspects have not been granted bail and Prime Minister David Cameron has encouraged strict penalties and jail terms for participants.
Both the Stanley Cup riot charges forwarded by police stem from a stabbing that occurred in the 700-block of Hornby Street. Edgar Ricardo Garcia of Burnaby has been charged with aggravated assault.
Joshua Lyle Evans was charged with possession of a dangerous weapon, though the stabbing victim later said that Evans was actually trying to intervene in the attack.
The Vancouver Police Department's 50-member riot investigation team has identified 259 separate criminal events and 268 suspects. A total of 392 Crime Stoppers tips and 1,600 hours of video footage are being reviewed.
The video is being scoured at the Natioanl Multimedia Evidence Processing Lab at the University of Indianapolis, Chu said, which will reduce the time it takes to review the footage from years to weeks.
A website will also soon be launched that will let the public keep up-to-date with the investigation, and feature the pictures of 150 riot suspects.