Vancouver Police are being accused of unlawful detention, illegal strip searches, torture, beatings, illegal entry into homes, theft and other crimes against the people of their city. The accusations come in the form of 50 sworn affidavits compiled in a report called To serve and protect, produced by the Pivot Legal Society.
Almost all of the alleged victims of police brutality live in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, Canada’s poorest postal code and home to a large population of needle drug users.
Meanwhile, Toronto Police are being hit with multiple lawsuits from people who claim to have suffered wrongful arrests, beatings, warrantless searches and theft of cash during drug raids.
The latest lawsuit was launched in October, by a man who was fined $1000 in 1998 for pot possession. He claims that a group of six drug officers beat him unconscious, made him sign a release saying he wouldn’t seek damages for his injuries, and failed to return thousands of dollars they seized from his mother’s safety-deposit box. Other lawsuits described similar violations by the same group of officers.
Hundreds of drug-related cases were dismissed in 1999 because of an ongoing internal investigation into misconduct by the Toronto drug squad.?In November 2000, eight drug squad officers were charged with stealing small amounts of money from the police force. More lawsuits are expected to be brought forward.