A North Vancouver man who was arrested and left in a cell for more than four hours after an incident in Lions Gate Hospital has won a lawsuit against the RCMP.
North Vancouver officers had no grounds to arrest Jeung Ki Park in the hospital lobby in June 2006 or to keep him in a jail cell for the length of time they did, a provincial court judge has determined.
Park sued the RCMP after an altercation at the hospital six years ago in which he was tackled by police and security guards in the lobby. The whole drama was captured on an audio recorder that Park had been carrying.
Park had gone to the hospital with his elderly mother that day because she was getting blood tests done. Afterwards, they stopped by the chemotherapy unit where she was a cancer patient. According to court documents, Park and his mother often stopped by when they didn’t have appointments and would sit for a long time in the waiting room for a chance to speak with her oncologist.
On this particular day, the doctor refused to speak with Park and said if they didn’t leave, he’d call security.
Park and his mother decided to make a complaint and were walking out of the chemotherapy unit when they were confronted by a group of Paladin Security guards who told them they’d have to leave the hospital.
Soon after, police arrived. Cpl. Lesley Norman told Park she was investigating a disturbance and asked for his name and identification. Park told the officer there was no disturbance and refused to identify himself. The verbal altercation quickly escalated, and within minutes Park had been tackled to the ground and handcuffed by police in front a crowd of onlookers.
Park was then taken to the North Vancouver RCMP detachment and held in a cell for several hours — including a period of time when the investigating officer left to attend court on an unrelated case.
When she returned, the officer was informed the hospital didn’t want to press charges against Park and he was released.
In court, Park — who represented himself — argued that police abused their authority and used excessive force to tackle him in the hospital lobby.
Judge Carol Baird Ellan disagreed with that, ruling there was no excessive force or malicious intent on the part of the officers.
But the judge found the police officer was “negligent in the manner in which she dealt with Mr. Park at the hospital, and that negligence continued through his stay at the detachment.”
She ruled police had both wrongfully arrested Park and detained him for longer than necessary.
Park has asked for damages for both physical and psychological harm he said stemmed from the arrest and for what he described as the “high-handed demeaning, humiliating and threatening” way the police treated him.