The BCCLA is congratulating the Vancouver Police Department for their restrained and responsible reaction to last night’s riot in downtown Vancouver. Among other points, the BCCLA noted that the VPD refrained from mass arrests and “kettling”, use of the MRAD sonic gun, and used tear gas and pepper spray in moderation.
“Everyone who takes seriously being part of a free and democratic society was shocked by the disrespect for our laws and the random violence displayed last night. We were all extremely concerned about public safety last night, as well as the safety of our police, fire, ambulance and paramedic workers,” said Robert Holmes, Q.C., President of the BCCLA. “As the liberal thinker John Stuart Mill said, the mark of a mature, democratic people is that they take ownership of and responsibility for their laws and the enforcement of them.”
After almost one billion dollars were spent on the Olympic security operation, the BCCLA has remained concerned that “legacy” crowd control equipment of an indeterminate nature would be deployed in a situation like last night. The “Crowd Control” section of the VPD policy manual available on the VPD website is fully redacted. The Association was relieved to note that police response during the riot relied on traditional and effective methods of policing, including high visibility presence, and when necessary, moderate and responsible use of force to disperse crowds.
“Times of stress and trial like last night are exactly when democratic principles and rights are put to the ultimate test,” noted Holmes. “We remain open for concerns to be raised and brought forward to our organization, but we are very pleased to say that police reaction on a systemic level last night appeared to us to be responsible, measured and restrained, rather than reactionary.”
Robert Holmes, Q.C., President, (604) 681-1310
David Eby, Executive Director, (604) 630-9752