Vancouver police to respond
to clip of cop shoving
Downtown Eastside woman

Sam Cooper, Vancouver Province, July 22, 2010

An officer is seen pushing a woman (in red)
before she falls to the ground in a video released
by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.
Photo: Screen capture, BCCLA.


Vancouver police are preparing to respond Thursday to a disturbing video that shows an officer shoving a disabled woman to the ground in the Downtown Eastside.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has released the video, which was taken on June 9, and called for “top-down examination and reform” of the force because of apparent “bullying” of citizens.

The video, taken in front of the Lux Hotel on Hastings Street, shows three male VPD officers walking side by side through the crowded area in front of United We Can, a local non-profit organization that allows binners to refund the bottles they collect.

A hobbling, visibly disabled woman appears to come into the path of the officers and then is given a hard shove to the ground. All three officers walk away, leaving her lying on the ground, before a civilian helps her to her feet and she staggers away.

Const. Lindsey Houghton said police are examining the video and preparing to respond with a news conference. He could not yet comment on the incident.

David Eby of the BCCLA says the apparent victim is a 26-year-old female who has multiple sclerosis.

“I find it disturbing. It looks like a group of bullies, frankly,” Eby said. “She seems to try to get out of [the three officers’] way and can’t, and when she passes between them, one of them pushes her over.”

“The images on this video simply do not square with what Canadians expect of members of our law-enforcement community,” said a statement from Robert Holmes, president of the BCCLA.

Holmes said the incident doesn’t seem to fit with the the police department’s mission statement and standards of performance, which include integrity, professionalism, accountability and respect.

“This would not have happened in Kerrisdale or Point Grey and we need to ask why it happens on the Downtown Eastside,” Holmes said.

“For one officer to do this to a visibly disabled woman is bad. For two others not to say or do anything is, too. For all three of them simply to walk on suggests they have forgotten what their job involves.

“For this incident likely never to be reported by them, and brought to the attention of anyone in management, suggests a work culture that needs top-down examination and reform.”

Go to When you see them comin’, better step aside
Read more about the Stan Lowe/Bruce Brown/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.