Police watchdog agency investigates VPD incidents

The agency set up to investigate police incidents related to serious harm and death is investigating the case of a 43-year-old man who was found unconscious last Sunday in the back of a Vancouver Police Department wagon.

Police arrested the man at about 5 p.m. at an apartment in the 2100-block of Triumph Street for allegedly breaching his court-imposed conditions. Police transported the man to the Vancouver jail on East Cordova Street.

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When the wagon arrived at the jail, the man was found unconscious. Medical staff at the jail worked to resuscitate the man before paramedics rushed him to hospital. He was last reported in stable condition, according to a statement posted Feb. 9 on the VPD’s website.

Police didn’t say whether the man was alone in the wagon when he fell unconscious. The Independent Investigations Office, which under a memorandum of understanding with police services in B.C. took over the investigation, has released few details on the case.

The VPD referred another case to the agency Wednesday after officers fired a bean bag round at a man in an apartment on Cordova Street, near Main. Police said they found a distraught man “who subsequently stabbed himself in the neck.” Police were able to restrain the man and allow paramedics to transport him to hospital.

The agency began operating in September 2012 and has asserted jurisdiction over 15 VPD incidents. None has led to criminal charges, although two were recently forwarded to Crown counsel because the agency believed an offence may have occurred.

In one of those cases, Crown counsel decided two weeks ago not to approve a criminal charge against a Vancouver police officer involved in a pursuit last summer in the West End that ended with a man severely injuring his leg.

The agency has cleared VPD officers of any wrongdoing in eight investigations and continues to investigate seven others, including an April 12 incident involving a police dog bite.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner has set public hearing dates of Oct. 6 to 10 and Oct. 14 to 17 for Vancouver police Const. Taylor Robinson, who shoved a woman with cerebral palsy to the ground in the Downtown Eastside.

Sandy Davidsen, who also suffers from multiple sclerosis, was on a sidewalk in the Downtown Eastside June 9, 2010 when a video camera from a hotel captured Robinson shoving her to the ground. Robinson, who later apologized, said he believed Davidsen was going for his gun.

Retired B.C. Court of Appeal Justice Wally Oppal, who most recently was the commissioner of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, will preside as adjudicator in Robinson’s hearing.


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