A Vancouver man is speaking out about a violent encounter with police two years ago, which could result in charges for four the officers involved.
Jamiel Moore-Williams, who is Black, was arrested by Vancouver police for jaywalking on Feb. 11, 2018, on the Granville Strip.
During the arrest, which was caught on camera, Moore-Williams was tasered multiple times. One officer can also be seen kneeing him.
“What was going through my mind was, ‘Stay alive,'” Moore-Williams told Global News.
Moore-Williams said he’d walked into the road to avoid someone who was throwing stones, when officers pulled over and approached him.
He says he was asked for ID, but the situation quickly escalated as other officers arrived.
“As soon as these other police officers came in, they just saw me and attacked me. One guy pushes me, one guy grabs my leg, my wallet is ripped out of my hand, and then tasers ensued,” he said.
“Kneeing, kicking to the face — it’s insane, they really tried to damage me.
“I could have died.”
Moore-Williams says he was tasered between seven and 14 times.
Moore-Williams was taken to hospital, then to jail.
He was later ticketed for jaywalking and charged with obstruction. Both were later stayed.
Moore-Williams believes the incident is an example of systemic racism, and says he still is haunted by the events of that night.
“Every time I see a cruiser I have to look, because I’m fearful for my life,” he said.
“For you to see me and because I don’t look like you and because I may be large to you … if that’s what in your brain is needed to take me down, that’s crazy.”
Moore-Williams told Global News the incident shows the need for further education and training of police.
The case was referred to the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner (OPCC) which ordered an investigation by an outside police agency.
“It was important that there be an arm’s length investigation as we noted that the VPD made public statements defending the actions of their officers prior to any investigation into the matter,” said Deputy Police Complaints Commissioner Andrea Spindler.
“That is a matter of public record. As a result, former Commissioner Lowe determined that the VPD should not investigate their own officers and appointed the RCMP to conduct this investigation.”
Spindler said when the OPCC learned the RCMP would not forward charges it conducted an independent review over “concerns regarding the conduct of the officers using force on Mr. Moore-William,” and forwarded its own report to Crown.
A spokesperson for the B.C. Prosecution Service (BCPS) said it received the report on Feb. 10, and is still reviewing the file.
The BCPS says in determining whether to press charges it must weigh whether there is a substantial likelihood of conviction, and whether the public interest requires a prosecution.
-With files from Catherine Urquhuart