April 23, 2014 12:37 am

Did Abbotsford Police use excessive force to take down a homeless man?

Watch above: An exclusive look at a video shot last Wednesday showing a homeless man in Abbotsford being taken down by Abbotsford Police using non lethal means. Homeless advocates are now slamming the City of Abbotsford in its treatment of possessions belonging to the man after he was taken into custody. Advocates claim the majority of his possessions were dumped – the City of Abbotsford disagrees.

VANCOUVER – A video shot in Abbotsford is coming under fire by advocates for the homeless.

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Officers were called to the food bank last Wednesday after a report of a man brandishing a knife.

When he refused to comply with police demands he was shot with rubber bullets and beanbag rounds.

The man was taken to hospital but not seriously injured, however, the footage is sparking debate over the issue around mental health.

Homeless advocates say the man was not armed and this is another case of mistreatment by the city.

 

“It’s really hard to watch,” said DJ Larkin from the Pivot Legal Society, speaking of the video on Unfiltered with Jill Krop. “Watching Roy on his knees saying ‘why are you killing me?’, it’s really upsetting.”

She said the video is an example of when human rights housing and mental health issues become a policing issue. “What it looks like in that video is that this was not a good example of de-escalation, which we always say is the best way to go when dealing with someone with mental health concerns,” added Larkin. “When you’ve got eight officers, several of whom are pointing a weapon at an individual who’s clearly agitated, they’re calling him by the wrong name, they’re yelling at him, it escalated the situation and in my opinion that’s why it ended the way that it did and unnecessarily so.”

Ward Draper from the 5 and 2 Ministries in Abbotsford, also called the video ‘disturbing’.

“Where was the mental health officer? Where was these de-escalation tactics used?” asked Draper.

“There wasn’t. He’s on a site that knows him, there’s people in that building that knew him, why weren’t they utilized?”

Draper also said all of Roy’s belongings were taken to the garbage dump by city workers while Roy is in hospital waiting for a mental health assessment.

“Basically it happened because of no communication,” said Draper.

However, Jake Rudolph with the City of Abbotsford said some of Roy’s stuff was taken to the garbage dump, but some of his other belongings, including his most important stuff, were able to be saved.

But Draper is not buying it. “All of his most valuable possessions, which are his tools, and where he was sleeping, his little hammock thing, all gone,” he told Jill Krop.

Unfiltered extended invitations to the Abbotsford Police Department, and members of council, but no one was available to come on the show Tuesday night to talk about what happened.

Police say they dealt with the threat in a non-lethal way.

 

© Shaw Media, 2014

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