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Man assaults officer, tries to grab gun after masturbating on TransLink bus: police

Caught on video: Vancouver police questioned after bus arrest
There are questions about the actions of Vancouver police in the moments before an arrest on a transit bus that was caught on video. Sarah MacDonald reports.

Vancouver police arrested a man aboard a Vancouver B-Line bus Thursday, after allegedly trying to grab an officer’s service weapon.

Video of the incident shows a cluster of transit security officers around a man in the back of the bus.

At one point, someone can be heard shouting what sounds like “get off my weapon!”

Police incident aboard TransLink bus
Police incident aboard TransLink bus

Vancouver police say they were called to assist transit security after a report of a man masturbating on the bus.

Police said the man became aggressive when asked to leave the bus, struck an officer in the face, grabbed a baton, and unsuccessfully tried to grab their gun.

READ MORE: Assaults on TransLink staff down, Metro Vancouver transit numbers show

But passenger Edison Wrzosek, who took the video, is questioning why authorities didn’t clear passengers before dealing with the man.

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Wrzosek said it happened around 6 p.m., between the Granville and Heather stops on Broadway, when the “few hundred pound” man boarded the bus and began sexually harassing a passenger.

READ MORE: Women twice as likely to experience unwanted sexual behaviour in public: StatCan

Wrzosek said around Granville Street, he began hearing raised voices. The driver skipped the Granville stop, made contact with dispatch, then stopped the bus near Heather street and opened all the doors, he said.

A transit supervisor, followed by three police officers, arrived shortly afterward and went to the back of the bus to confront the man, he said.

“As he’s getting up to start leaving he lunges for the female passenger and grabs her by the thigh,” said Wrzosek.

“Then the struggle ensues, and the next thing we hear is ‘get off my weapon’ and that’s when people start running off the bus because all of a sudden we know it’s serious.”

READ MORE: Man found guilty of assault for touching Vancouver bus driver’s thigh without her consent

Wroszek said as police grappled with the man inside the bus, passengers outside expressed alarm that they’d almost been caught in a violent struggle.

“If they are going into a situation where apparently they have been made aware that a passenger could be potentially violent or difficult, if after the first attempt to get them off, if they resist, [they should] immediately tell people to please leave the bus — which they didn’t do,” he said.

“Even during the struggle, the three officers didn’t say, ‘People, get off the bus,’ or anything. People didn’t get off the bus until they heard, ‘Get off my weapon,’ so I don’t think enough due diligence was given the passengers that, ‘Hey, this is a potentially bad situation, you should probably leave.'”

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