VPD responds to woman's claims officers broke her wrist
CTV British Columbia
Published Thursday, April 18, 2013 8:16PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, April 19, 2013 4:39PM PDT
Vancouver police are investigating after a 26-year-old woman accused officers of breaking her wrist and jailing her for nine hours due to mistaken identity.
In a media release, the Vancouver Police Department said officers were called to a hotel in the Downtown Eastside after receiving a report of a woman causing a disturbance.
She was arrested for breach of peace, taken to jail, and then released the following morning, a VPD spokesperson said.
Police did not confirm whether the woman was Tania Belleau, who shared her story with CTV News Thursday.
Belleau said she was walking home from her sister’s place on Abbott Street at around 9 p.m. Wednesday when she was stopped by two police officers.
“They said ‘Where you going?’ I said ‘Home.’ I’m like ‘I’m trying to go,’ then these two guys said ‘Put your hands behind your back, you’re arrested,” the 26-year-old convenience store clerk said.
Belleau, who said she hadn’t been drinking, claimed she was then thrown into a police wagon and taken to jail.
“I know the officer put on the handcuffs too tight,” she said. “It was so tight that…I couldn’t even feel anything.”
Belleau said she repeatedly asked officers to go to the hospital to treat her wrist, but it wasn’t until she was released from jail nine hours later – at 6 a.m. – when an officer called an ambulance.
She said doctors at St. Paul’s Hospital took an X-ray and confirmed her wrist had been broken.
“The pain was unbelievable. It was unbearable pain,” she said. “I’m a caring, loving person, but I had to go through what I did. It’s not fair.”
Belleau’s employer said she has worked for her for nine years and that she’s been a model employee.
“She’s very calm and easy, she doesn’t swear, she doesn’t get aggressive or anything like that,” Cindy Grewal said. “She’s a very, very good person.”
Grewal said the nine hours Belleau spent in jail will haunt her for the rest of her life.
“Police should have taken her seriously, they should have taken her to the hospital when she’s complaining she’s in pain,” she said.
Belleau, who has no criminal record, said she thinks it was the result of mistaken identity.
“I guess they’d mistaken me for somebody who had a warrant out for their arrest. I had my ID, I had everything,” she said.
Vancouver police said their professional standards unit is now investigating, but as of yet, the woman involved has made no complaint about the incident.
They said investigators will be reaching out to the woman to help determine exactly what happened.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Jina You