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Crime

B.C. police watchdog looking for witness who saw man catch fire from VPD taser

A suspect reportedly caught fire after being Tasered by a Vancouver police officer earlier this month.
A suspect reportedly caught fire after being Tasered by a Vancouver police officer earlier this month. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

B.C.’s civilian police watchdog is looking for a woman who may have witnessed an incident earlier this month in which a man caught on fire after being Tasered by a Vancouver police officer.

The incident happened on Oct. 6 around 3:15 p.m. on the seawall near Bute Street and Cordova Street.

READ MORE: Man lit on fire after getting Tasered by Vancouver police, watchdog investigating

According to the Independent Investigations Office (IIO), police had been deployed to the area to respond to reports of a man spitting at a couple and approaching and touching women.

Police say the man tried to fight officers, who reportedly responded by deploying a stun gun. However, according to the IIO, the Taser probe made contact with a “flammable concealed possession” on the man, which ignited.

Police watchdog investigates officer involved shooting in Surrey
Police watchdog investigates officer involved shooting in Surrey

The man suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

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The IIO says a woman who saw the interaction may have key information for its investigation. She is described as a woman wearing a royal blue jacket and dark pants with a medium-sized brown-and-white dog on a leash. According to the police watchdog, the woman was seen next to a bench in Harbour Green Park as the police interaction occurred.

The IIO is asking the witness, along with anyone else who may have seen, heard or recorded video of the incident, to contact its witness line at 1-855-446-8477.

The IIO has a mandate to investigate any case of serious harm or death in which police action or inaction may have played a role.