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Vancouver police chief defends officer in online video shared thousands of times

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Vancouver’s Chief of Police Jim Chu says he wants people to know the whole story behind a video of an arrest that has been shared thousands of times online.

Chu says the officer in the case acted appropriately. In the video, you can see the officer asking the driver to roll down the window and get out of the car because he’s under arrest.

The driver refuses and after repeated warnings the officer smashes the car window.

Chu points out the video doesn’t show how the suspect had been driving dangerously before he was stopped and he feels the use of force in this case was necessary.

And Josh Paterson with the BC Civil Liberties Association agrees. “We expect police to have to do that sometimes, they are authorized to do so by law and you know it may be that this is one of those cases.”

Paterson says the fact so many people online were concerned by the video shows that public trust in the police could be eroding.

“Numerous instances where you know things happening in the news and tragedies that have happened where people have felt they have good reason not to be fully trusting and to ask those kinds of questions.”

Both Paterson and Chu agree it’s ideal if force never had to be used, but sometimes, it’s part of the job.

No report has been filed by the driver with the police complaint commissioner.



Here is Vancouver’s Chief of Police Jim Chu’s full statement:

“I thought it may be helpful to include some facts that may have been lost in the way the story was reported.

This was not a traffic stop, it was a drug arrest. Impaired driving alerted the officer to the danger the driver posed to public safety and marijuana smoke billowing from the car made the cause of that impairment obvious. In order to make the arrest, force became necessary when the person refused to exit the vehicle, which is understandable since he allegedly knew what would be found in his car if he did.

Our officer acted proactively when he saw a car weaving that could at any minute strike another car or pedestrian causing injury or worse. The video shows that the driver was evasive and lying about not having drugs in the car. In fact, there was enough marijuana for Crown Counsel to accept a charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking. While it was necessary to use some force to extract the driver, it is also important to remember that no one was injured and no complaint was made.

Patrol officers know that every arrest they make and practically every move they make will be scrutinized, analyzed and occasionally criticized. Through it all they routinely prove that preserving life and public safety trumps whatever slings and arrows they may endure.

It would be ideal if force of any kind was never necessary to make an arrest. But for those who are trying desperately to avoid apprehension, it is not always the option they choose.