The BCCLA is releasing a surveillance video showing a problematic interaction between Vancouver’s police force and a disabled resident of its most impoverished neighbourhood.
The video, taken out front of the Lux Hotel on Hastings Street, shows three burly male VPD officers walking side by side through the crowded area out front of United We Can, a local nonprofit organization. One of the three officers can be seen pushing over a small and visibly disabled woman after she appears to brush into him accidentally. He then stands over her. All three officers then walk away with her lying on the ground. Another civilian helps her to her feet and she walks away.
“The images on this video simply do not square with what Canadians expect of members of our law enforcement community. Scenes like this demonstrate the need for constant efforts on the part of both the leadership of the police department and every member of the force to remind themselves that their mission is to serve,” said Robert Holmes, President of the BCCLA.
The Vancouver Police Department mission statement says that the department encourages a level of service that goes “beyond the call” and that they embrace standards of performance that include integrity, professionalism, accountability and respect.
“This would not have happened in Kerrisdale or Point Grey and we need to ask why it happens on the Downtown Eastside,” said Holmes. “For one officer to do this to a visibly disabled women is bad. For two others not to say or do anything is too. For all three of them simply to walk on suggests they have forgotten what their job involves. For this incident likely never to be reported by them and brought to the attention of anyone in management, suggests a work culture that needs top-down examination and reform.”
Robert Holmes, President, 604-838-6856
David Eby, Executive Director, 778-865-7997