Police in Vancouver are under fire for repeatedly shooting an unarmed man with a bean bag gun in video footage that has surfaced online.
The clip, filmed by Al Fowler and posted by Against Displacement on Twitter, shows a 35-year-old man lying on his back as several officers shout at him, asking him to lie on his stomach.
Before shots are fired, the man tries to roll over, but after clearly being in some state of discomfort, reverts to lying on his back.
You can watch the video below:
CONTENT WARNING: Brutal @vpd police assault on an unarmed man in the DTES — more a dozen cops ordered him to lie down, he did; then they tasered him & shot him 3 times with a beanbag gun from 10 feet away. @GlobalBC @CBCNews @CTVNews | video from Al Fowler from @VANDUpeople pic.twitter.com/VOQBrA8Pfh
— Against Displacement (@stopdisplacemnt) July 30, 2019
Taking place in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, you can see at least 12 officers in the short clip, which culminates in the man being shot three times with a bean bag gun for failing to comply with orders.
Fowler told CTV News that before he started filming, police had already deployed a Taser.
In a statement to CTV News, Fowler said:
I see a cop car there, lights flashing and all of a sudden, ‘bang,’ I heard the Taser go off, so I drop my bicycle, I go running across the street then I finally had my phone recording. They tasered him twice and then they were yelling at him … You heard them telling him to ‘Roll over. Roll over.’
Fowler criticised Vancouver Police Department for using so much force in a situation that seemed to be relatively calm.
Fowler continued to CTV News:
They didn’t have to make that big a deal about it. The guy’s lying on the ground, on his back with his hands in the air. They should have the skills as police officers to arrest him without escalating the situation.
As an advocate and researcher who works with the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, Fowler said this sort of police response makes him angry.
I don’t know what he did wrong to get arrested… but I think it was overkill on that part.
Vancouver Police told CTV News that the man had reportedly entered the nearby Patricia Hotel, and staff grew concerned for their safety after he started to act aggressively.
Police explained further:
When officers arrived, they encountered a man who was acting aggressively and appeared to be under the influence of drugs. He lunged at one of the officers and attempted to punch him. The officer was not harmed and was able to deploy his Taser. However, the Taser had little effect.
A police statement defended the officers’ actions, saying that the man ‘was warned several times that a bean bag would be deployed if he remained non-complaint. Officers struck the man’s leg with several beanbag rounds, which proved enough distraction to allow the officers to move in and arrest him.’
Police then confirmed the man, from Surrey, was taken to hospital ‘for an assessment related to drug impairment and the deployment of the Taser and bean bags,’ adding that charges related to assaulting an officer are also anticipated.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.