Video shows Vancouver police officer punching handcuffed Indigenous woman

Click to play video: 'Handcuffed Indigenous woman punched by VPD officer during arrest'
Handcuffed Indigenous woman punched by VPD officer during arrest
A young Indigenous woman is speaking out, and Vancouver police are defending their actions, after video showed her being punched by an officer during an arrest. Angela Jung reports – Apr 17, 2024

An Indigenous woman is speaking out, alleging she was placed in handcuffs following a call to Vancouver police for help.

The incident occurred on New Year’s Eve at an affordable housing building on Powell Street.

The woman, whose identity isn’t being revealed for safety concerns, said she called police to help remove unwanted guests at her party.

“We were at my house. My other friends came and they were really intoxicated and being aggressive, so I called 911 for help to get (them) removed from the building,” she told Global News.

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Some of the incident was captured on a CCTV camera and has been shared with Global News.

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Video shows the woman – who had called police – getting put into handcuffs in a lobby area after she kicked at an officer who was holding her wrist.

Shortly after, with the woman lying on her stomach, the video shows the officer who was kicked unleashing a punch on the woman.

The woman told Global News she got punched in the head.

“My hands were behind my back and then they were kneeling on me. And out of nowhere he just punched me; he didn’t say anything,” she said.

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“He gets up and just walks away and lets the other cop pick me up and bring me downstairs.”

Global News spoke with a Vancouver police officer, Sgt. Steve Addison, regarding the incident.

He said police were called for a report of an assault in progress, contrary to what the woman said.

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Addison said officers are justified in using “physical force while in lawful execution of their duties that are defined in the Criminal Code of Canada.”

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“The officers made an arrest and what you see in this video is officers attempting to arrest a suspect, an adult suspect, who had allegedly committed a violent offence,” he said.

“Unfortunately, she made a decision and the decision that she made was to become violent with our officers.

“And what you see in this video clearly is the woman as the suspect, as she was being arrested, resisting arrest by rolling her right hand out of the handcuffs as it was being placed on her by violently kicking an officer in the groin area.”

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Addison said the woman was twisting the finger of the officer while he was trying to cuff her. The woman denies this happened.

“She’s continuing to resist arrest. The officer delivered one punch that caused her to release the grip that she had on his finger. That was completely justified given the circumstances,” Addison said.

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Global News spoke with former solicitor general Kash Heed, who spent the majority of his policing career with the VPD.

He has seen the video of the arrest.

“It looks like excessive force. It may have been a retaliatory strike based on what happened previously, but, in my opinion, the situation was under complete control once this individual was taken to the ground,” Heed said.

The woman has not been charged, but Addison said the department has recommended charges in the incident.

The BC Prosecution Service told Global News it will not be charging the woman.

A complaint has been filed of the arrest and the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner is now looking into the allegation of misconduct.


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