Probe ordered after VPD officer filmed firing beanbag gun at man on sidewalk

Click to play video: 'VPD officers deploy beanbag gun during DTES arrest'
VPD officers deploy beanbag gun during DTES arrest
WATCH: Social media video captures the arrest of a man in the Downtown Eastside. – Jul 31, 2019

B.C.’s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC) has ordered an investigation into a video showing Vancouver police firing a beanbag gun three times at a man laying on the ground in the course of an arrest.

The VPD says the arrested man was “acting aggressively and appeared to be under the influence of drugs.”

The video, which was shot Tuesday, has circulated widely on social media, a factor the OPCC said played into its decision to order a probe.

“We did not receive a complaint from a member of the public. The commissioner has the independent authority to initiate an investigation into an incident if he determines it’s in the public interest,” said Deputy Complaints Commissioner Andrea Spindler.

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“In this case, with the video circulating and social media and upon receiving information from the Vancouver Police Department relating to the circumstances of this of this incident, the commissioner felt it was in the public interest to initiate an investigation.”

In the video, which does not show what precipitated the incident, several members of the Vancouver Police Department can be seen surrounding a man laying on his back at the intersection of Hastings and Dunlevy streets.

WATCH: Vancouver police arrest man who climbed into Corvette

Click to play video: 'Vancouver police arrest man who climbed into Corvette'
Vancouver police arrest man who climbed into Corvette

The officers order the man to lie on his stomach multiple times, but the man refuses, and instead rolls sideways on the ground.

More officers arrive, and police again tell the man to roll onto his stomach or “you’re going to get beanbagged.”

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The man does not roll onto his stomach, and police fire the beanbag shotgun at his legs three times.

The VPD said the incident shaped up when it was called to the Patricia Hotel by staff who reported an aggressive man on the property, who was known from a previous violent incident.

Police said the man lunged at and tried to punch an officer. That officer deployed a taser, which police say had little effect.

“As cover officers arrived, the man laid down on the sidewalk and refused to listen to verbal direction from police,” said Sgt. Jason Robillard.

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“The man was warned several times that a beanbag would be deployed if he remained non-complaint. Officers struck the man’s leg with several beanbag rounds, which proved enough distraction to allow the officers to move in and arrest him.”

He said the 35-year-old Surrey man was taken to hospital for assessment.

The OPCC said an outside police agency will take conduct of the investigation, which must be completed within six months.


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