The Vancouver Police Department is on the defensive after a video of officers arresting a man in front of a young child was posted to social media Tuesday (Oct. 11), with their use of force called into question.
Shot at the Trout Lake Community Centre parking lot by Twitter user @socialistsean, the video shows officers attempting to pull a man out of a white SUV. The man is seen resisting while he yells, “Help, leave me alone! What are you doing to me? I have my son in the car!”
Two officers manage to pull the man from the driver’s seat and out into the parking lot where they push him onto the pavement in an attempt to arrest him. A young boy then opens the SUV’s backseat door and looks out at the arrest attempt happening a few feet from him. He begins to cry and yells out “Daddy!” while the officers handcuff the man with the help of a third cop.
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. This is so wrong,” the man says. “This is abuse. I was sitting in the car reading with my son. What are you doing? …I’m so sorry son.”
Responding to the video across several tweets Tuesday night, Vancouver Police said the man was being arrested for criminal harassment, “after he allegedly breached numerous bail conditions and a protection order in place for the safety of the victim.”
An officer in the video is heard saying, “You’re under arrest for breaching conditions with your wife.” The man responds that they were having Thanksgiving together, and that no one was hurt and he “did nothing wrong.”
Out of protection for the minors involved and the nature of the accusations, Black Press Media has decided not to include the video in this article.
Vancouver Police claimed the officers didn’t know there was a child in the car when they made their arrest attempt. The department said the video doesn’t show that the man initially exited the SUV, but got back in and resisted officers when he learned he was under arrest. At that point, officers became aware there was a child in the vehicle.
“We believed the man was either attempting to flee with the child in the car, or that he would barricade himself in the vehicle. Either scenario would have put the child in extreme danger,” the department tweeted.
They said the officers used “appropriate force” to arrest the man, and that it wouldn’t have been necessary if he had cooperated.
“It is unfortunate the suspect resisted lawful arrest, and that a child was present when he chose to do that. Our officers comforted the boy and he is now in the care of an appropriate adult.”