A 47-year-old Vancouver man is suing the Vancouver Police Department after he claims he was mistakenly arrested and beaten by officers involved in a hunt for a fugitive accused of shooting a transit cop in January.
Jason Victor Hernandez filed a notice of civil claim July 30 in B.C. Supreme Court against six unidentified Vancouver officers. He claims they broke his ribs and gave him a concussion as he left a Real Canadian Superstore on Kingsway in Burnaby on Feb. 1.
At the time of the incident, the officers were involved in a Metro Vancouver-wide hunt to capture suspect Daon Gordon Glasgow, who was accused of shooting Const. Josh Harms at Scott Road SkyTrain Station Jan. 30 in Surrey.
Glasgow was 35 at the time, 12 years younger than Hernandez.
Hernandez claims in his lawsuit that he was confronted by a group of officers, some of whom had guns aimed at him. Police told him to surrender without resisting arrest, the court documents say.
“Mr. Hernandez, who was not armed with anything other than shopping bags, did not resist in any fashion beyond expressing his belief that the police were targeting the wrong individual,” the lawsuit says.
“Despite his compliance, Mr. Hernandez was repeatedly struck by VPD officers during the course of his wrongful arrest, and sustained various injuries, including, but not limited to, abrasions and bruising to his face and body, several broken ribs and a concussion.”
Police then handcuffed Hernandez and put him in a Vancouver police vehicle, where he was told he was suspected of being the man wanted for shooting the transit cop.
The lawsuit says Hernandez immediately protested his innocence and offered to provide identification to officers that showed he was not the suspect.
“Despite the fact that Mr. Hernandez bears almost no resemblance to Mr. Glasgow, he was then detained for over five hours while VPD members refused to check his identification or accept his explanation that he was not the person they were seeking,” the lawsuit says.
It was not until his fingerprints were processed and found not to match those of the suspect that he was released, says the lawsuit, claiming the detention was unlawful and caused Hernandez prolonged emotional distress.
Surrey RCMP arrested Glasgow Feb. 3 at a home in the 7500 block of Boundary Road. He was charged with several offences related to the shooting of the transit cop, who has since returned to work.
Upon Hernandez’s release, the claim states, VPD officers apologized and offered to provide him temporary accommodations in a nearby hotel. The arrest caused Hernandez to miss an appointment to move into a new residence, the lawsuit says.
“However, despite ongoing assurances to Mr. Hernandez, the VPD failed to follow through with their offer for accommodations and Mr. Hernandez was force to spend a night in the hotel lobby awaiting reservations, which never arrived,” the lawsuit says.
“This callous treatment heightened Mr. Hernandez’s distress with the whole series of events.”
Hernandez is seeking unspecified damages for his injuries, expenses for medical treatment, loss of employment opportunity and for short-term housing.
The VPD, nor the City of Vancouver — which is also named as a defendant — has filed a response to Hernandez’s lawsuit. None of the allegations made by Hernandez have been proven in court.