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Watchdog calls for further probe after video shows Vancouver cop shoving man to the ground

Click to play video: 'OPCC reopening investigation into actions of Vancouver police caught on camera pushing a man in the Downtown Eastside' OPCC reopening investigation into actions of Vancouver police caught on camera pushing a man in the Downtown Eastside
The Vancouver Police Department is under scrutiny over a video that surfaced online of an officer shoving a man down to the ground. As Catherine Urquhart reports, the video is being reviewed by the department and the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner – Aug 9, 2021

B.C’s independent police watchdog is calling for further investigation into a violent altercation involving members of the Vancouver police after video of the incident emerged on social media.

On Sept. 24, 2020, Tyler Nielsen was recording a group of officers in the Downtown Eastside gathered around an elderly woman when another man intervened.

Click to play video: 'Handling of VPD shoving incident investigation faces questions' Handling of VPD shoving incident investigation faces questions
Handling of VPD shoving incident investigation faces questions – Aug 4, 2021

The video shows police pushing the man to the ground. Another officer then approaches Nielsen and requests that he hand over his phone as evidence.

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Read more: Handling of Vancouver police shoving incident faces new questions

Following a complaint, a Vancouver Police Department use-of-force investigation under the direction of the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner concluded allegations of improper use of force were “unsubstantiated.”

Video of the incident that surfaced on social media later led the watchdog to revisit the case.

In an email sent Monday, the commissioner’s office told Global News:

“After careful consideration and in light of the video evidence which was brought to the OPCC’s attention last week, we have determined that it is in the public interest that the force used by police during this interaction be further investigated.

Read more: Video shows Vancouver police officer shoving man to the ground

“The Police Complaint Commissioner has made a request to the Director of Police Services, pursuant to section 44 of the Police Act, recommending that an investigation into this matter be initiated and that this investigation be completed by an agency external to the Vancouver Police Department. The decision whether a further investigation will take place remains with the Director of Police Services.”

When asked for comment, the police department said the officer involved remains on active duty.

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“I think it’s very promising that the OPCC did revisit the complaint when this video surfaced,” Meenakshi Mannoe of the Pivot Legal Society said.

“It also highlights the importance of what we see increasingly of people recording police interactions and posting them to social media.”

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