Facts and statistics that relate to police priorities

I went through the Vancouver Public Library’s “Police Brutality” files a while back (I think they have been discontinued by now – budget cuts) and picked out a few quotes … and rather than have this stuff go to waste in some corner of my archives I thought I would share it with all of you!


* Memorial Service for Daniel Possee, the 22 year old son of soccer star Derek Possee, in a drug raid that netted 15 grams and a set of scales.

Vancouver Sun, May 15, 1992 Warrant for Possee Death examined
“…an informant had seen a set of scales and a ‘quantity of marijuana'”

Vancouver Sun, Dec. 2, 1992 Officer involved in death reinstated
“Vancouver Police Chief Bill Marshall has lifted the suspension of a patrol officer charged with criminal negligence causing the death of a man in police custody…officers were relieved by the chief’s decision to lift the suspension and he did not expect a non-confidence vote to proceed. … Hannay was suspended with pay Aug. 21 after being charged in connection with the death of Randall Andrews, 28. Andrews died of asphyxiation in a police wagon Dec. 7, 1991. Police arrested Andrews on a mischief charge…”

Province, May 7, 1993 Police probe faulted
“‘…it’s very difficult for the police to investigate themselves’ said Derek Possee, adding marijuana is a social drug used by many young people and should be ‘decriminalized'”

Province, Aug. 30, 1996 Vancouver police admit shooting unarmed man
“Derek Possee…accused the police of ‘pulling the big blue curtain’ over the investigation”.


1969 – the year the BCCLA requests for “independent investigations” into police brutality begins. (06-20-1969-Prov)

LeDain Interm Report, April 6, 1970
“I believe that (the removal of the prohibition of simple possession of cannabis) is dictated at the present time by the following considerations: the extent of use and the age groups involved; the relative impossibility of enforcing the law; the social consequences of it’s enforcement; and the uncertainty as to the relative potential for harm…”

* Globe & Mail, Aug. 9, 1971 Gastown pro-pot protest/police riot
“…the demonstration was peaceful …until the police charged”

Dohm Report (Gastown Inquiry), Oct. 6, 1971, p.13
“Historically, civil disobedience has been considered by legal experts to be an acceptable course of conduct in the reformation of society when the law sought to be changed is intrinsically reprehensible and when all available constitutional attempts to achieve the desired reform have been exhausted.”

* Vancouver Sun, July 15, 1972 RCMP beat teens for breaking bottles
“When I said ‘No’ one cop kicked me in the chest…”

(for brevity’s sake, we’ll spare you the 70’s and 80’s … all the gory details are in the clipping files at the main library in Vancouver, under “Vancouver police brutality”. See also the brutality subsections “Police Corruption”, “Blockades/Gustafsen Lake”, “APEC”, “Hyatt Hotel”, “Police complaints”, “Police misconduct” and the frightening section “Police – Death of suspects” and “Prison deaths” … especially the Possee file.)

Vancouver Sun, March 21, 1990 RCMP investigates self in pot shooting
” ‘Definitely there was a struggle because a person was shot’ … Roseberry refused to say who shot Glover, what the calibre was of the one bullet that was fired, or who much marijuana was seized.”

* Province, July 7, 1991 “Hero” beaten senseless in unprovoked attack
“Insp. Ric Hall of Surrey RCMP says Mansell was arrested for ‘intoxication in a public place’. … Says Mansell ‘ It was a wedding reception. People were drinking, but I wasn’t drunk. … Mansell, 25, who gained Province front-page praise in March 1989 for helping to rescue a woman from drowning, wants to know why three cops beat him up. The unemployed Richmond construction worker says he lost most of the hearing in his left ear in the attack. … The three cops kicked and punched Mansell and pulled his arms behind his back for about seven minutes: they handcuffed his arms behind his back and shackled his ankles: they cinched his ankles to his wrists with a rope across a field to a police car ‘like a piece of luggage’; and they tossed him into the car, smashing his head on the door frame and knocking him unconsious.”

* Vancouver Sun, Feb. 15, 1992 East Van. woman knocked out in raid
“An east Vancouver woman said she was knocked out when a police emergency response team burst though her door looking for a drug trafficker who residents of the house claim had been evicted.”

* Vancouver Sun, May 28, 1992 Assault taped – officers escape charges
“…they were roughed up and dragged from their East Vancouver home during a drug raid …Their case got national media coverage after a videotape taken by one of their neighbors shoed Zhang being kicked and punched, while lying down. …We believe a terrible wrong has been done .. and if we are unable to recognize this under our present system …then we need a new system for looking at police use of force…” said the BCCLA.

Province, May 28, 1992 Kicking, punching suspect called “valid”
“Wright said kicking and punching is a valid technique used to distract a suspect.”

* Province, Aug. 2, 1992 Pregnant woman says police hit her chest
” ‘We fully cooperated and they still beat us.’ Chung said. Said Ho Tang, 20: ‘This cop threw me down, twisted my arm and gave me a few punches in the chest. … They also gave me a few shots while I was hancuffed.”

* Province, Feb. 12, 1993 Yet another Chinese man assaulted by VPD
“In the latest incident Chien Hua Ip, a White Rock restaurant owner, said four plainclothes officers tackled him and a friend …He said the officers grabbed his arms from behind and drove his head into the pavement, opening a gash over his left eye that took eight stitches to close. …Ip said he believed the police confused Yeung’s wallet for a gun.”

* Province, March 2, 1993 Botched RCMP drug raid
“…Angela Vukelic witnessed her husband being … kicked and beaten by three men wearing masks…”

* Vancouver Sun, April 21, 1993 Transit cops break nose and ankle
“We were walking away and the next thing I know, I’m eating pavement.”

Vancouver Sun, July 7, 1993 Amnesty International questions VPD
“An internal investigation by police and anther probe by the police commission cleared the officers of using unreasonable force. Since then, there have been four other incidents of alleged excessive force by police against members of the Chinese community… Amnesty International examined the home video of the Zhang incident and sent a letter last year to the BC. Police Commission, questioning the technique of kicking Zhang on the ground while he offered no resistance.”

* Province, Oct. 8, 1993 Man accuses cops of breaking his ankle
“I said, ‘You guys have got to take me to the hospital, you just broke my ankle.’ Thorne said he was put in a cell and four hours later was delivered to hospital after his ankle swelled …”

Vancouver Sun, May 26, 1994 Lawyer condemns police, mayor in raid
“If I bumped into someone on the bus, I’d say I’m sorry. The police broke into the wrong home, handcuffed the people, dragged them out, kicked them and then tore up the place. They never even said they were sorry.”

* Province, Mar 2, 1997 B.C. Lion claims cops beat him
” ‘I kept saying, ‘I play for the BC Lions. My identification is in my pocket,’ he said. ‘I repeated that over and over.’ “Bull- – – -,” Thomas said one officer replied. ‘He’s a stupid nigger.’ ”

* Vancouver Sun, Aug. 15, 1997 RCMP deny assault – victim wants “independent” review.
“…the case points out the need for the federal police force to be subject to an independent, provincial police complaints commission promised in May by BC Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh.”

* Province, Dec. 4, 1998 I kept my cool, says constable
“Davidson, the son of former Socred MLA Walter Davidson, suffered bruises, a swollen nose and eyelids, blackened right eye and lip abrasions…..the pattern is consistent with Davidson falling against the rounded door frame of the police wagon said Ferris, a forensic pathologist called by the defense (the police)”

* Vancouver Sun, Jan. 15, 1999 Officer gets away with teen assault
“A Vancouver police officer received an absolute discharge Thursday after he admitted assaulting a 16-year old who may have permanent vision damage as a result.”

* Province, Jan. 22, 1999 Running for the bus earns father a beating
“The next thing he did was grab me by the back of the neck and smash my head into the side of his car and then continued to verbally assault me…saying that he was going to drive him to the police station, the officer drove Fox to his 115th Avenue basement suite. Fox said he asked for the officer’s badge number and was refused. When he got out of the cruiser and looked at the car’s number, the officer offered him his card. ‘I took the card and I touched his finger and he said, ‘how come you hit me?’ said Fox. ‘He grabbed me by the throat …threw me into the tow-truck in the driveway.'”

* Province, Jan. 31, 1999 Woman charged with assault after cop hit her
“…a struggling Tugyi was arrested after officers knelt on her back. She said she was struck on the right side of the head and pushed face-down on the ground. … Tugyi was released from jail … with a notice to appear in court on Feb. 25 for assault and obstructing a peace officer.”

* Province, April 6, 1999 Woman and children terrorized at gunpoint
“Everyone was ordered out at gunpoint because of a 911 call that proved terribly wrong … ‘These guys don’t have enough to do around here’ ”

* Province, Jan. 20, 2000 Police board backs up First Nations woman
“…he pepper-sprayed me in the face, grabbed me and slammed my face down on to the car. He cursed at me and called me an ugly name.”

Findings of the Honorable Peter J. Millward, QC: June 29th, 2000, into the January 3, 1999 Abbotsford “bloody birthday” drug raid
“…as it is acknowledged that the probable existence of a small quantity of marijuana or the possible existence of a weapon hidden on the premises did not constitute an emergency….Constable Sekela knew or ought reasonably to have known of the presence of children in the house. … ”

* Vancouver Courier, July 12, 2000 Abbotsford “bloody birthday” raid
“Last year, six police officers dressed in kevlar and fatigues …burst through the doors of a home in Abbotsford to make a drug bust. To their surprise, they found 14 children and 14 adults enjoying a kid’s birthday party….another (officer) …pumped two slugs into the dog, spraying the stunned children and their cake with blood and dogmeat.”

* Province, March 22, 2000 Police cop it from activists
“most of the 80 or so who came out to the special meeting angrily complained that police use too much force in dealing with drug addicts, prostitutes and small-time hoods … treat everyone who lives (in East Vancouver) as a crook, and are not accountable…”

* Province, Dec. 24, 2000 Black Dentist choked twice in two years
“Taylor took the driver’s license out of the cop’s hand ‘a little too abruptly.’ As he walked back to the car, the officer came from behind and put him in a choke-hold. ‘I was actually choking to death, as far as I was concerned,’ said Taylor.”

* Province, Feb. 23, 2001 Convicted cop should go, says other victim
“A Burnaby baker who says he once peered down the very scary end of Const. Michael Pratt’s Gun thinks the RCMP should find a way to get rid Burnaby of the officer.”

* Vancouver Sun, March 7, 2001 RCMP Black Dentist Assault probe
“Pratt was convicted of using unnecessary force when he pulled Taylor from his car. The constable then put a gun to Taylor’s head before asking to see his driver’s license. Another officer … testified …”He said he saw a black man in a nice car with an Oriental female and, given the area, he wasn’t sure if it was possibly a prostitute-pimp situation…”

Vancouver Sun, May 12, 2001 Police watchdog to review drug raids
“The Police Complaints Commissioner has launched a review of the Vancouver police department’s methods of fighting the marijuana trade after stories in The Vancouver Sun raised questions about police tactics. Larry Campbell, B.C.’s former chief coroner, has been hired to review “police conduct, policies and procedures” and to provide a report of his findings to Commissioner Don Morrison. ”

* Georgia Straight, June 28, 2001, East Van Family Brutalized
“what started as a simple traffic investigation… he and three of his adult children – including a disabled daughter – were pepper-sprayed, roughed-up…, hauled off to jail, strip-searched, and charged with various criminal offences.”

* Province, July 13, 2001 ‘Unlawful’ choke hold used on dad
“It just serves to underscore Canada’s dire need for a public complaint’s commission that has teeth, is accountable to the community and isn’t required to kow-tow to the RCMP or Government. What we have now is a joke.”

* Province, Sept. 30, 2001 Officers in choking case stay on job
“…he did not know if (Police Chief Terry Blythe) had viewed the tape, which shows a uniformed officer lunge at a convenience store owner, grab him by the neck, shake him repeatedly and slam him into the cash register.”

* Province, Feb. 7, 2002 RCMP “miss deadline” to punish racist cop
“RCMP brass lost their last chance to fire a constable convicted of assaulting a Vancouver dentist because they missed their own internal-discipline deadline.”

Number of complaints filed against the Vancouver police every year: 200 (02-24-92-G&M)

If this were any other gang, they would have been broken up by now.

Security of Women:

Year women began to go missing in East Vancouver: 1983

Year a 10-officer task-force was created to look at the missing women problem: 1998 (11-24-2001-Sun)

Year the prime suspect in the missing women case was charged with attempted murder and then ignored: 1997 (02-23-2002-Post)

Number of times pig farm was searched in 1997: 3 (02-28-2002-Sun)

Number of women missing during and since 1997: 32 (02-23-2002-G&M) or 37 (03-29-2002-Prov)

Number of officers investigating the “55 missing women in East Vancouver” cases up until Feb. 8, 2002: 16 (Vancouver Police)


Number of officers involved in the recent nationwide “Operation Greensweep” – netting 40 cannabis grow-ops: 500 (01-31-2002-Prov)

Number of officers devoted to busting cannabis grow-ops full time in the tiny community of Delta: 12 (02-04-2000-Sun)

Number of grow ops operating in the lower mainland, according to the Organized Crime agency: 7,000-8,000 (05-12-2000-Sun)

Most recent date the Vancouver Police asked for a $300,000 budget increase for their “Grow Busters” program: July 2001
(10-19-2001-Terminal City)

Most recent date Mayor Owen has asked for $30,000,000 for, among other things, “drug treatment courts”: November 2000 (11-22-2000-Prov)

Percentage of BC residence polled who favor “legalizing the sale and use of cannabis”: 52.4% (06-25-2001-Prov) or perhaps 63% (Angus Reid 1997)

Percentage of 400 Vancouver residence telephone interviewed who disagreed that possession should be criminal offence: 55% (05-13-2000-Sun)

Percentage of Vancouverites who favor “marijuana legalization”: 57% and “safe drug consumption facilities”: 71% (01-31-2001-Sun)

Percentage who agreed that B.C. courts should “ignore the Americans and hand out the sentences we think are appropriate”: 56% (05-13-2000-Sun)

Number of publicized sex-assault charges dropped due to “backlog of 20,000 court cases”: 2 (10-22-1998 Prov)

Number of unpublicized sex-assault charges (or other serious charges) dropped due to backlog: No one really knows.

Number of poor women who would not die of overdoses or pimps or bad dates if drugs and prostitution were legal and regulated: Quite a few.

Difference between the VPD “missing persons” budget and the “missing gardens” (Grow Busters) budget: Media relations Constable Sarah Bloor said she’d “get back to us” on that.


Don’t let the police get away with it any longer.

When the police are violent to you or anyone else – speak out!

Speak out against the police putting more officers on grow ops than serial killers.

Speak out against the police investigating themselves.

It’s time to re-direct police to address Vancouver community concerns instead of the concerns of the US government and their failed drug policy.

David Malmo-Levine