Complaints hearing underway for transit officer who assaulted a UBC student in 2011
A police complaints commission hearing got underway in Vancouver on Friday for two transit cops accused of assaulting a young man at a SkyTrain station seven years ago.
In 2016, Transit Police Const. Edgardo Diaz Rodriguez pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to 12 months probation for attacking a UBC student in August 2011.
The other officer was also charged with assault at the time but those charges were later dropped.
Video released in 2016 shows Diaz Rodriguez delivering 10 baton strikes to the victim’s head, neck and back – all over alleged fare evasion at the Rupert SkyTrain station.
The victim, then 22 years old, was at the SkyTrain station to meet a friend. When his friend ended up taking the bus instead, he went to leave and was confronted by two transit cops on the stairs over his unpaid fare.
The former UBC football player told the officers he wasn’t even taking the train but they decided to issue him a violation ticket anyway. He provided his full name but the officers didn’t believe him so he was arrested for obstruction. When he tried to flee, he was tackled, punched and then subject to a brutal baton beating by Diaz Rodriguez.
A lawyer for one of the officers is now trying to have several of the allegations thrown out, saying there’s been an unreasonable delay of six-and-a-half years to hear this case, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money has been spent on the matter.
The public hearing could determine whether Diaz is fired from the police force, and has been scheduled for three days in February.
The victim, who can’t be named, says the beating ended his football career and dashed his CFL dreams. He has filed a civil lawsuit against the two officers and Transit Police, and that case is set to go to trial in June.
Diaz Rodriguez remains a transit officer and has been on desk duty since the incident. The other officer resigned following the incident.
— With files from Jordan Armstrong
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