Video doesn’t match
Vancouver police version
of alleged attack by cop

Andy Ivens, Vancouver Province, Jan. 6, 2010

Sarah Penman on Wednesday, January 06, 2010.
She was a witness to an alleged assault by a Vancouver cop
outside the Regal Beagle bar and grill on Broadway St. [sic] last summer.
Photo: Les Bazso, Vancouver Province


Former bar manager Sarah Penman says a run-in between a Vancouver police sergeant and a customer outside the Regal Beagle last summer was so distressful she had to quit her job.

The Province has obtained a copy of a surveillance videotape from the popular Kitsilano bar that documents an incident allegedly involving Sgt. Darcy Taylor, a 20-year member of the Vancouver Police Department, and an alleged victim.

Taylor was put on paid administrative duties after he was charged Monday with one count of assault with a weapon over the incident, which took place outside the Regal Beagle around 2:15 a.m. on Aug. 23.

“It was disgusting,” Penman said Wednesday. “I was shaking for hours.”

Penman said she quit the next day because of the incident, and now works at an upscale Gastown eatery.

Penman, who has worked in the hospitality industry for seven years, said the incident has shaken her faith in the police.

“I’ve never seen police act that way before,” she said. “I have faith in the police and the justice system, my dad’s a lawyer. The other cops who arrived were shocked, too.”

Penman said she was outside the bar, paying the bouncers their tips, and witnessed the incident from the beginning.

She said the sergeant drove his cruiser onto the sidewalk in front of another bar a short distance away and began “screaming through his [public address speaker] on the car.”

Although a VPD spokesman said Taylor was responding to a call of a fight in progress and called for backup from fellow officers, the video shows no such disturbance.

Penman said the victim, a 27-year-old Vancouver man named Justin, was using his cellphone when the sergeant knocked him down.

The video shows a police officer rushing from across Broadway toward a group of three people standing on the sidewalk.

The officer delivers a blow to the man’s chest and knocks him off his feet onto the sidewalk.

The man’s lawyer, Jason Tarnow, said his client suffered a bruised chin and smacked the back of his head on the sidewalk when he was sent flying.

“The cop was telling Justin, ‘What are you going to do now? Hit me. Hit me,’” said Penman.

Penman said she has been interviewed by police investigating the incident and expects to be called as a witness, if needed, by prosecutors.

“It’s the most surreal thing you’d ever see, like something you’d see in a movie,” she said.

Penman doesn’t feel the VPD have unfairly targeted the Regal Beagle, which has been operating for 12 years, or its customers.

“A lot of the cops come in [as patrons when off duty]. This is their watering hole,” said Penman.

“We know a couple of them by name, by no means has the VPD targeted [the Regal Beagle] in any way.

“During the Police and Fire Games, we put on a lot of [hospitality] nights for that,” she said.

Taylor has his first appearance scheduled for Jan. 14 in Vancouver Provincial Court.