Assaults on Burnaby cops more than double in first half of 2020

Two alleged spitting incidents last month were part of a significant jump in assaults on local police officers in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same time period last year, according to Burnaby RCMP.

The most recent spitting case involved a suspect who had allegedly drunk his own urine before spitting at an officer, according to a news release last month.

On June 26, police were called to a residence in the 7000 block of Elwell Street for reports that a resident in the home was destroying property, police said.

Officers located the man, but he was confrontational, according to the release.

At one point he was observed drinking his own urine, police said.

After nearly an hour of conversation, he was apprehended safely under the Mental Health Act, according to police, but as he was being escorted out of the house, he spat on one of the officers.

He now faces potential charges for assaulting a police officer.

A week earlier, on June 19, another officer was at Burnaby Hospital when security staff asked for police assistance in dealing with a woman who was reportedly causing a disturbance in the emergency room.

The officer helped apprehend the woman, who was resisting security staff and other responding officers, according to police.

While being restrained, the suspect allegedly turned her head toward the officer and spat straight into her eyes and face, said the release.

The following day, the same suspect was again the subject of a police call and is alleged to have assaulted a security guard at the hospital during her discharge, according to police.

The woman now faces assault charges related to both incidents, police said.

More than twice as many Burnaby officers have been punched, shoved, kicked, bitten and spat on this year as during the same time period last year, according to Burnaby RCMP.

From Jan. 1 to June 30, there were 20 such incidents involving local police officers compared to eight during the first six months of 2019, police said.

Five of the incidents this year have involved spitting compared to just two during the same time period last year.

Vancouver police have reported a similar jump in spitting incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Burnaby RCMP said they don't know why the incidents are on the rise.

“Our primary concern is the safety of everyone involved,” spokesperson Cpl. Mike Kalanj said in the release.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor

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