Is It Time to Revamp the Vancouver Police Department?

Lets start off with a woman named Sandy. When we talked about this after class on back Thursday, which was fittingly a class about human rights, I was applauded, shocked and embarrassed from both watching and hearing the news about the women in the Vancouver Downtown East Side who was pushed to the ground by a Vancouver Police Officer because she walked into him. The embarrassment escalated when it was discovered that the women has cerebral palsy, and because of this she has difficulty walking at the best of times.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties (BCCL) are an organization of lawyers who volunteer their time that fight for the rights of those who otherwise could not, or challenges our legal and moral values that have being corrupted and that treat people unfairly. They released the video from a street cam that takes video for the purposes of surveillance along Hastings Street where there is no doubt a high concentration of the poor and homeless, and where drug addicts and malcontents gather. Ironically, that same video is what brought justice, the public’s view as in this case, to the forefront.

The public outcry has been deafening in my circles of friends. I have not heard so much outrage about the police since the Robert Dziekanski Tasering murder at the Vancouver Airport back in October 14, 2007 by four RCMP Officers.

The impact that video has is immediate and stands on it own in the public’s mind. Unlike paper that can be censored by government, special organizations and the courts, or testimony that is based on memory that is tainted with objective spin and well rehearsed lines, video is the ultimate eye witness, even when there is no audio to accompany it. It is very difficult for the pubic to see the extenuating circumstances, and to allow legal ambiguous speak to interfere with the actors’ case who is trying to change public’s opinion as the legal system is constantly under attack by the public from all angles.

Does the moral compass of the VPD and other police forces need to be fixed? This was one of the questions that we debated back on Thursday. With the riggers of police training, one would assume that police would be more attuned to the area that they are serving. As one colleague put it, “all it takes is one bad apple…”

Here is the email I sent after class:

Things That Make Canada Questionable in its Stance on Human Rights and the treatment of the Weak and Disabled.

Last night in one of my classes we debated the aspects of what transpired from an incident that occurred along Hasting street in Vancouver, BC on about July 1st 2010. We focused on the communication by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD), not what the media is saying. At present, the VPD is saying very little as it seems that the department is still reviewing the case; however, they are satisfied that the officer did apologies, but the three officers have not comment on their conduct before, during and after the incident occurred.

Have an opened mind when viewing this video. Reflect upon it, and then ask yourself these questions, what would you do if you were the police officer, and the person with the disability? How would you react? If you were a bystander, what would you do? There were Good Samaritan’s along the sidewalk, but would you look the other way, or would intervene regardless that it was police offers who started the action?

Courtesy of CBC NEWS

Just blowing off of some steam when I see imbalances in power and misuses of authority.

Please go to these links:

CBC New Website –

Police Shoving Woman On Video Raises Questions.”

Woman Shoved By Police Says, ‘He Has No Right.‘”

You can watch the video for yourself, and you be the judge, “was it provoked, or a bad move on the officer’s part?”




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