The Vancouver Police Department is now telling its side of the story about a man mistakenly arrested in February who claims he was beaten by officers involved in a hunt for a fugitive accused of shooting a transit cop in January.
In response to a lawsuit launched by Jason Victor Hernandez, a city lawyer on behalf of police filed documents Sept. 3 in B.C. Supreme Court stating officers did not harm the 47-year-old man in an arrest Feb. 1 in Vancouver.
In addition, the document authored by City of Vancouver lawyer Kevin Nakanishi states police stopped Hernandez outside the Grandview Superstore at 3185 Grandview Highway — not the Real Canadian Superstore at 4700 Kingsway in Burnaby, as alleged by Hernandez.
“At no material time did any Vancouver municipal constable use any force on the plaintiff other than as described above in this response to civil claim,” the document said.
The document said officers drew their guns on Hernandez, told him to lie on the ground in a prone position and spread his arms out to either side, which he did. Police then placed handcuffs on Hernandez.
At the time, officers in Metro Vancouver were on alert to capture suspect Daon Gordon Glasgow, who was accused of shooting Const. Josh Harms at Scott Road SkyTrain Station Jan. 30 in Surrey.
Vancouver officers responded to the Grandview Superstore after “a civilian complainant at the Superstore” observed a man believed to be Glasgow, who was considered armed and dangerous.
The document notes Glasgow previously shot and killed someone with a firearm in 2010 and was convicted of manslaughter. It also noted Surrey RCMP had released eight different mugshots of Glasgow and advised media that he was known to quickly alter his appearance.
During the arrest of Hernandez, the document said Hernandez provided his name to an officer and allowed that officer to take his driver’s licence from his wallet, which proved he wasn’t Glasgow.
“The plaintiff’s driver’s licence was queried through police databases, which verified that the plaintiff was in fact who he said he was, and not Glasgow,” the document said.
“Once the plaintiff’s identity had been confirmed, he was released from handcuffs and returned to a standing position. One or more of the lead constables explained to the plaintiff that he was free to go, the reasons for why he had been stopped by police in the way that he had, and offered to answer any questions. The plaintiff confirmed to the lead constables that he understood and that he had no further questions for the police.”
Hernandez then filed a civil claim July 30 in B.C. Supreme Court against six unidentified officers. He claims they broke his ribs and gave him a concussion Feb. 1 as he left Real Canadian Superstore on Kingsway in Burnaby.
“Mr. Hernandez, who was not armed with anything other than shopping bags, did not resist [arrest] in any fashion beyond expressing his disbelief that the police were targeting the wrong individual,” said the lawsuit filed by lawyer Matthew J. Longay, acting on behalf of Hernandez.
“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.”
The lawsuit states further that Hernandez was detained for more than five hours “while VPD members refused to check his identification or accept his explanation that he was not the person they were seeking.”
The VPD denied the claim in it response to the lawsuit, stating Hernandez was free to go approximately 15 minutes after the first constables arrived on scene at 8:45 p.m.
Hernandez’s lawyer claims in the lawsuit that his client bears almost no resemblance to Glasgow, who was 35 at the time of his arrest, 12 years younger than Hernandez.
The Courier left a message with Longay in August to request a photograph of Hernandez, but had not heard back as of posting of this story.
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.
None of the allegations by Hernandez or the response from the VPD to the lawsuit have been proven in court. No court date has been set to hear the matter.