Police deny any pre-riot warning

‘The VPD had no creditable information…
that a riot was about to occur’

Ian Austin, Vancouver Province, Sept. 23, 2011


Vancouver police have issued a statement saying that most
of the reporting about the June 15 Stanley Cup final, Game 7 riot
has been accurate, but took offence at some stories.
Photo: Jason Payne, PNG.


The Vancouver Police Department reacted angrily Thursday to published reports based on documents released through Freedom of Information that imply police were warned about the potential for Stanley Cup rioting by the general manager of the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch.

According to the reports, Karen Ayers wrote of “escalating problems, intoxication, violence and pre-riotous behaviour” in making the June 12 decision “to close all liquor stores in the downtown Vancouver core at 4 p.m. tomorrow evening” (for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final).

Three days later on June 15, during Game 7, a riot did take place, and ever since authorities have wrangled about whether or not police knew or should have known that a riot was a possibility.

“Today, Vancouver police took the unusual step of issuing a formal statement to clarify a story that is being fed by wrong information and misguided conclusions,” the VPD said in a statement entitled, Get The Facts Straight.

“Reports that VPD received information from the Liquor Control and Licensing Board that there would be a riot are simply wrong and untrue. The reports are based on a Freedom of Information request that retrieved information from the LCLB concerning liquor store closures on the day of the last game of the Stanley Cup final.

“Stories are still being generated that say the VPD knew a riot was coming because the LCLB told them. This is absolutely false.”

The unsigned police statement — emailed out to media by the VPD media liaison — appears to reflect the frustration the department is feeling after months of public questioning of police intelligence.

“As difficult as it may be for some to hear, the VPD had no creditable information from anyone that a riot was about to occur,” it reads.

“If anyone in the media had information to that effect we would welcome them to come forward and explain why they never shared it.”

On one hand, the VPD applauds the majority of the media coverage.

“Most of the reporting on the riot and the aftermath has been accurate and insightful,” it reads.

But slipped into the last paragraph of the police statement comes the highly debatable assertion that reporters somehow incited the riot.

“We are concerned about stories created that choose to inflame the rhetoric about the riot based on wrong information, as we were originally concerned by stories and reporters who beat the drum most loudly inciting crowds to gather in the first place.”

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