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‘We are going to come knocking’: Vancouver police chief vows to hold PNE rioters accountable

Click to play video: 'VPD chief promises to bring PNE riot suspects to justice'
VPD chief promises to bring PNE riot suspects to justice
It's been one week since a riot broke out when the headliner of a music festival at the PNE Amphitheatre canceled and as Kristen Robinson reports, Vancouver Police will be taking a page from the Stanley Cup riot as they work to identify the suspects responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage – Sep 25, 2022

It’s been just over a week since a cancelled performance sparked a riot at the PNE Amphitheatre – and a Vancouver police probe which will be taking a page from the Stanley Cup riot playbook as investigators work to identify the suspects responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

When BREAKOUT Festival headliner Lil Baby cancelled at the last minute on Sept. 18, fans unleashed their anger on the PNE venue toppling tables and tents, overturning food kiosks and fridges, looting and fighting.

Click to play video: 'Rioters cause hundreds of thousands in damages after cancelled PNE concert'
Rioters cause hundreds of thousands in damages after cancelled PNE concert

Seven people were arrested for breaching the peace and Vancouver’s top cop vows to bring all of the rioters to justice.

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“The people that did that, we’re going to hold them accountable,” VPD Chief Const. Adam Palmer told the police board on Sept. 22.

Read more: Vancouver police want your photos and videos from the Breakout Festival riot

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The Vancouver Police Department is already seeing evidence uploaded to an online video portal launched on Sept. 21.

A similar VPD website set up after the 2011 Stanley Cup riot generated a huge response.

Read more: ‘This was a different animal that night’: Looking back at the 2011 Stanley Cup riot

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“We had over a million still photos and thousands and thousands of hours of video,” Palmer told Global News on the 10-year anniversary of the downtown mayhem that caused just over $3.7 million in total damage.

Three hundred people were charged in the Stanley Cup riot. Two hundred and eighty-four pleaded guilty and nine others were convicted at trial resulting in a 98 per cent conviction rate.

Eleven years later, tech experts say video submissions will be much clearer as the camera is the smartphone feature that has improved the most.

“You’re seeing more megapixels you’re seeing a higher resolution,” said Andy Baryer of HandyAndy Media.

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“When they’re looking at this image, they’re looking at cameras that even Hollywood uses to make commercials and movies so the image quality is unrefutable and the fact that they have so much of this shared on social media, it’s just a matter of time for them to collect all of it and to use it as evidence.”

Click to play video: 'Squire Barnes: The 2011 Stanley Cup riot, ten years later'
Squire Barnes: The 2011 Stanley Cup riot, ten years later

“Our ability to analyze that video and bring people to justice and identify people is second to none,” added Palmer.

“It’s not good to be caught on video doing something illegal,” criminal lawyer Sarah Leamon told Global News Sunday.

Leamon said certain actions could potentially reduce an accused rioter’s sentence – if they’re convicted.

“It is possible that turning yourself in or making an expression of remorse can be taken as a mitigating factor.”

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Read more: Stanley Cup Riot prosecution cost close to $5 million

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When video footage surfaced of rioters flipping over vehicles, smashing windows and looting stores in 2011, people lost jobs and scholarships while students were kicked out of university.

Palmer expects we’ll see similar outcomes when the VPD releases photos of suspects in the PNE riot.

“I’ll guarantee you that parents, relatives, friends, the person that you sit next to in your biology class, your neighbour down the street, the person that didn’t like you in high school, whatever it is, people will phone in to the number and they will tell us who you are,” Palmer warned.

“We are going to come knocking and arrest you and take you into custody.”

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