A Vancouver man is accusing the Vancouver Police Department of excessive force, and the whole assault is caught on tape.
Yaletown resident, Andi Shae Akhavan, sent video to Global News showing the arrest.
He said he was riding his bike back from his friend’s house around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday night. “I pull up to a red light at Beatty and Seymour,” he said, “and I realize that there are cops pulled up next to me. And there’s two of them, plain clothes, in an undercover car, and they just asked me if I noticed I went through a red light.”
“Since we were at a red light, I said ‘well we stopped at this one, you’re next to me’, and they said ‘no the previous one’, and I said ‘no I don’t recall going through it, you know, the streets are pretty dead.'”
Akhavan said the police then told him they were going to write him up, and proceeded to get out of the car. “They started to write me up, and I basically said ‘don’t you guys have anything better to do? I’m only a block away from my house, I was only you know, just cruising home real quick’, and at that point, I guess, because I asked them if they could be doing something better than arresting a bicyclist, or writing up a ticket for one, they decided to put cuffs on me.”
He said the police didn’t read him his rights before putting handcuffs on him, and what followed from there was caught on video by a passerby.
“They’re putting the cuffs on me, he’s yanking my arm pretty tight, both hands are held back at this point, I turn around to say, and he winds up and hits me in the face.”
The force so strong it actually broke his tooth, piercing his lip. He ended up at the ER to get it checked out.
“At that point, beyond getting punched in the face and being stunned, I just realized he had done something wrong, and that, you know it was just completely out of line,” said Akhavan.
“I was surprised but in the same sense I wasn’t surprised that a police officer was, in this sense, taking advantage of their power.”
He said he wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone else, and he is going to file a complaint with the VPD.
Sergeant Randy Fincham with the Vancouver Police said in a statement that allegations of police misconduct are taken very seriously by the Vancouver Police Department.
“Following the incident, the man was treated at the scene for a cut lip by Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services. The man was released by police on a promise to appear pending charge approval,” Fincham said in an email to Global News.
“The incident was reported by the member to his supervisor shortly after the incident. The incident has also been reported to the Professional Standards Section of the Vancouver Police Department who will in turn notify the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner. ”
“The officer is currently on weekly leave.”
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association reacted to the incident today, saying they will watch the outcome of the investigation closely, given “the poor history of police investigation of alleged police misconduct in this province.”
Michael Vonn, policy director at the association says it’s unclear if Akhavan is resisting arrest in the video.
Akhavan said he was given a court date for obstructing police. He said he is not really sure what that means.
“It doesn’t feel good getting punched in the face, and you least expect it coming from a police officer.”