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11 Vancouver Police officers assaulted or injured over Labour Day weekend

Sgt. Steve Addison said anti-police sentiment could be driving the increase in assaults on officers
A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer’s uniform in Vancouver, on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Vancouver Police say that 11 officers were assaulted or injured over the Labour Day long weekend.

On Monday, (Sept. 6), VPD officers were arresting a 21-year-old woman who was suspected of stabbing a man’s hand and stealing his bike. As she was being arrested, police say she spat on an officer. The officer was taken to hospital and tested for communicable diseases.

That same night a different woman phoned police requesting help because her ex threw a rock through her window and was hiding in the bushes near her home. The suspect tried to flee officers and while they were arresting him, the suspect’s brother tackled an officer and elbowed another one in the head. Both suspects were taken into custody.

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In another instance, officers engaged in a foot chase with a man wanted on a B.C. wide warrant for violent offences. An officer cut his hand while scaling a fence and required multiple stitches.

On Sunday, (Sept. 5), the VPD arrested a man who was acting “violently and erratically” at a grocery store in Kitsilano. Officers arrived on scene and there was an altercation where three officers were injured: one sustained cuts and scrapes, another had blood spat in their face, and the other has an ankle injury and the officer has been off work since.

At a news conference, Sgt. Steve Addison said that between January and July 2020, 108 officers were assaulted in Vancouver compared to 66 in 2018 — a 64 per cent increase in assaults.

Addison said the increase is likely driven by a number of factors but pointed toward an increase in anti-police sentiment on social media as a possible factor.

“We have seen a significant increase in what we believe is anti-police sentiment out there. Sometimes that is fueled by world events — George Floyd for example and other events that have happened in Canada and throughout the United States. There’s a significant amount of rhetoric we’re seeing online and through social media, that may embolden people to feel entitled to take these actions,” he said.

According to a report from the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, the VPD had 187 files opened into police conduct in the first quarter of the 2019/2020 year — the most recent year for which statistics are available. Vancouver police generated the most files of any B.C. municipal police force for that time period.

RELATED: Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019


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