When you see them comin’,
better step aside

A disabled woman didn’t, and a rough, tough Vancouver cop
shoved her to the ground. The VPD cover-up lasted
six weeks, until the BCCLA released the video.
The OPCC won’t answer media inquiries.

July 22, 2010

The person in red is a disabled woman who’s falling to the ground
after being pushed by Vancouver Police Const. Taylor Robinson.
Click the photo to see the video.


Right from the start they were acting tough: three burly cops walking side-by-side down a busy Vancouver street, forcing people to walk around them. That was before one cop shoved a disabled woman to the ground. The three cops stopped, regarded her for several seconds, then simply walked away. They didn’t bother helping her up, let alone checking on her condition.

When the B.C. Civil Liberties Association released surveillance video six weeks later, on July 22, the VPD claimed an investigation had been underway since the day of the assault, June 9.

But is that true? The VPD made no announcement until July 22. None of the three cops was suspended, put on administrative duties or even transferred to another neighbourhood.

According to the Vancouver Sun, “No one at the OPCC [Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner] returned calls Thursday” (July 22). Very strange, that. Very, very strange. Deputy police complaint commissioner Bruce Brown, although a dishonest public official who supports police cover-ups, enjoys excellent relations with the media.

So did the OPCC know about this all along, but they helped their VPD cronies keep it quiet? Or did the OPCC not know before July 22, but now they’re helping their buddies cook up a story before Brown returns his phone calls?

It’s clear there was a cover-up. Compare this with the way the VPD handled Const. Darcy Taylor’s assault on a man who was standing still, typing a text message. In a public statement, Inspector Mario Giardini of Vancouver Police Professional Standards pompously claimed the moral high ground:

“When an officer, during the course of his duty, is accused of actions that in retrospect may be deemed avoidable, it can in some cases lead to charges under the Criminal Code or the Police Act. In the rare occasion when that happens, it is the clear policy of the Vancouver Police Department to share that information with the public in an immediate and forthright manner.” (Emphasis added.)

One day later it transpired that Giardini’s high-minded pose was an attempt at damage control. The victim’s lawyer had surveillance video that showed the police assault to be much more serious that Giardini claimed.

But if Giardini’s comments were true — that the VPD is willing to charge officers guilty of inexplicable brutality, and that the VPD will notify the public immediately — why wasn’t that done in this case?

If the VPD are committed to having serious incidents investigated by outside police forces, as they claim to be, why didn’t an outside force investigate this assault?

And why wasn’t the OPCC answering media phone calls?

Clearly there was a VPD cover-up, quite possibly with OPCC collusion.

(Read a July 28, 2010 update)
(Read a Dec. 8, 2010 update)

Some additional points:

Ethan Baron’s Vancouver Province column notes that the cop claimed he thought the woman was trying to grab his gun. The video offers no support for the claim, which was also used by the cops who beat up Ali Eltah Ishag on June 26.

That statement now looks like a pre-arranged lie to justify police brutality. In press releases and news reports, police often describe people as “erratic.” I know from personal experience that Vancouver cops will describe someone as erratic even if he was docile. As long as there are no independent witnesses or video evidence, cops can pick and choose from a check-list of pre-arranged lies.

Eventually some of these lies get worn out, like “excited delirium.”


The Hastings Street assault came to light the same day that the OPCC okayed a dubious two-month extension to the long, slow, foot-dragging Delta police investigation into the Vancouver police beating of Yao Wei Wu.


Remember the VPD’s remarks about accused drug dealer Const. Peter Hodson being a “rogue officer” and just “one bad apple”? Well, assuming he’s guilty, he was a rogue officer. There’s no indication that the VPD will tolerate drug dealing among its officers. But the cops who beat up Wu and the cop who assaulted the disabled woman are not rogue officers. That’s why the police are, at best, reluctant to do anything about them. The more I follow the issue of police accountability, the more I’m convinced that gratuitous violence is very much part of — or at least condoned by — cop culture.

That same cop culture prevails at the OPCC.


Read more about the Stan Lowe/Rollie Woods/OPCC cover-up
of VPD constable Taylor Robinson’s assault on a disabled woman
Read more about B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner
Read more news and comment about police accountability in B.C.