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The police version of events and reality

The police version of events and reality

There’s the police version of events. Then there’s what actually happened.

What appeared to be a recent high-speed police chase in Vancouver was captured by a bystander’s dash cam. In the video, the suspect vehicle is seen maneuvering into opposing lanes while being hotly pursued by multiple police vehicles. As the fleeing SUV passes an intersection, a police vehicle is seen pushing into the driver side of the suspect car, which forces the SUV’s driver to lose control. At this point, the police vehicle continues to push the suspect SUV past the camera as more flashing sirens race to catch up.

The official word from the Vancouver Police Department is that officers believed the SUV was a stolen vehicle and decided to give chase. Police described the apparent take down to media as “a collision” that “occurred between the vehicle and one of their SUVs.” To anyone who watches the video, however, it looks a lot more like the officer behind the wheel decided to use a PIT maneuver on a busy city street without regard for public safety.

See for yourself:

The problem with the police version of events

For those accused by police of having committed an offence, the officers’ version of events can often be difficult to contest without independent witnesses or records. More and more often, these records and witnesses come in the form of video footage that captures details left out or otherwise ignored by the police.

She was going for my gun, he claims

There’s the case of Sandy Davidsen, a 90-lb woman with disabilities walking along a busy sidewalk in the Downtown Eastside when she found herself face-to-face with three beat officers. She pauses, before attempting to squeeze through a gap between two of the officers to continue on her way. A camera captures one of the officers shoving the frail woman to the sidewalk. The officers continue on their way. Later, the officer claimed the tiny woman was going for his gun. After the video became public, assault charges were initially considered against the officer, but ultimately, the case ended with a six-day suspension for the offending cop.

Sucker punch that cyclist, say he’s resisting

Don’t blame the entire force on a single rotten apple, you say. Well. Meet Cst. Ismail Bhabha, the Vancouver cop who sucker punched a cyclist who ran a red light for, um, resisting arrest. Bhabha was found guilty of assault in August 2015, made to pay a $100 victim surcharge and given six months’ probation. So much for resisting arrest.

Quick, Taser that 73-year-old man!

Two does not make a crowd, you continue. Call it eagerness, call it a symptom of youth, call it whatever you’d like, but the youngest-ever Transit Police officer had big things happening for him. With less than two years on the force, not only had he already received a commendation, he was getting married and was “earning the kind of salary” that would allow the newlyweds to buy a condominium. Then he decided to lie about why a senior was Tasered in a hospital. A security camera caught what happened. He was suspended for 14 days. Transit Police also initially fired him, but gave him his job back about a year later.

Two deaths and the subsequent lies

And who could forget the cop who ordered the Taser on Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski and was later found guilty of perjury? Monty Robinson also got into a fatal collision with a motorcyclist about a year later, while driving his children back home from a Halloween party, already five beers into his night. He tried to go for the bolus drinking defence, leaving the scene of the crash to slam a few shots of vodka at home before returning. The court convicted him of obstruction of justice four years later.

We thought about including more examples of the police version of events vs reality. But there comes a point when, well, the point has been made. So. Do you believe the police version of events?