Police Chief Jim Chu says he's confident "several hundred" people will be charged in connection with the Stanley Cup riot.
Chu made the statement Wednesday as he updated the Vancouver Police Board about the investigation into the June 15 riot that erupted downtown after the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
"We will have charges," said the chief from the Cambie Street police precinct. "I'm confident that several hundred people will be charged. I want to emphasize that we don't want to rush to justice. It would not serve the public interest if somebody was brought before the courts and then we had to bring them back for a second offence or a third offence."
As the Courier reported July 11, it could take at least two months before Crown prosecutors approve charges against any of the people who allegedly committed criminal acts during the riot.
The approach of the investigation team is to review all evidence, which includes 1,500 hours of video and 15,000 images, and proceed with all charges against an individual at one time.
So far, 37 people turned themselves in to police -30 males, seven females. Nine are from Surrey, seven from Vancouver, four from Maple Ridge and three from Burnaby. Others are from the Lower Mainland and one each from Victoria, Tofino, Comox and Westbank.
An additional 111 people are under investigation for criminal acts related to the riot. There are "literally hundreds more" who were identified and will become the subject of an investigation in the coming months. Crimes being investigated include participating in a riot, assault, assaulting a police officer, mischief, break and enter, theft, robbery, arson, weapons offences and possession of stolen property.
The Vancouver Police Department is continuing its internal review of the riot and a preliminary report is expected to be turned over in early August to the B.C. government-ordered independent review team, co-chaired by Douglas Keefe and John Furlong.
Chu revealed that two members of the Ottawa Police Service, who are experts in crowd control, are working on behalf of the government review. Keefe, a former Nova Scotia deputy justice minister, and Furlong, the former head of VANOC, are expected to complete their review by Aug. 31.
Wednesday's meeting marked the first time since the riot that Chu and Mayor Gregor Robertson, who is chairperson of the police board, met publicly to discuss the events. Despite the riot falling under Chu's watch, the mayor and board members praised the chief and his officers for getting the riot under control in three hours.
"Your leadership Chief Chu, I think it was outstanding in the face of very great danger," the mayor said.
Board member Jason McLean said he was "troubled and quite saddened" by the riot but added that he was proud to be associated with the VPD after witnessing the professionalism and restraint of the officers.
"Without presupposing the results of the various reviews that are underway, which we intend to take extremely seriously and cooperate with fully, I think that needs to be said," McLean told the chief. "I just want to express complete confidence in your leadership and the way that you and the executive have steered the ship through what has been, obviously, a challenging time."