VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver’s police chief is firing back after a controversial drug seizure on the Downtown Eastside led to a provocative poster campaign by a group of legal advocates.
The Pivot Legal Society started soliciting complaints against two officers involved in the bust, using flyers featuring their photos.
This is after footage of Vancouver police officers seizing marijuana products from the Downtown Eastside market was posted on Twitter by a city council candidate. The Overdose Prevention Society said that the drugs were being offered as medicine for those addicted to opioids.
But Vancouver’s police chief is calling it “adversarial” and “reckless.”
“It’s completely offside what Pivot Legal Society has done,” said VPD Chief Adam Palmer. “To centre out two officers for doing their job, putting their faces out and their posters out in the Downtown Eastside is offside they don’t support it and that was not the right way to go about doing business.”
WATCH: VPD Respond To Criticism Over Drug Bust
Palmer said the drugs were seized because they were being sold illegally for a profit, noting they were also being sold against the wishes of those who run the market.
“Those officers were down there doing their job, working in one of the toughest neighbourhoods in Canada to police and they did the right thing that day,” Palmer said.
Despite the campaign, Palmer said he has yet to hear any formal complaints against either officer.
But the Pivot Legal Society it’s dissatisfied with the response from the chief’s response.
Lawyer Anna Cooper with the society says the group’s concerns go beyond the controversial drug seizure.
“This is a broad community safety concern based on a large number of incidents that people are alleging,” Cooper said. “I think it’s an attempt by just focusing on that one incident and trying to frame the narrative that way, that’s an attempt to avoid the real broad issue here.”
Cooper said Pivot continues to collect complaints against those two officers.
She said some people were uncomfortable coming forward during Tuesday’s drafting rally due to publicity surrounding the event.
-With files from Martin MacMahon