Independent Investigations Office
For Immediate Release
SURREY – The Chief Civilian Director has released jurisdiction over an officer involved incident involving officers from the Vancouver Police Department. After his review of the preliminary investigation, the CCD has determined that the injuries sustained by the affected person DID NOT meet the definition of serious harm as defined in the Police Act.
On September 26, 2014 the affected person was at the Kingsgate Mall where he reportedly assaulted a customer as well as mall security personnel. The affected person left the mall on foot and was subsequently located by police near Main Street and E.12th Avenue.
The two police officers engaged in a brief foot pursuit which led to a physical struggle with the affected person. According to the police, the affected person attempted to take hold of an officer’s firearm which was holstered at that time. The affected person was brought to the ground and with the assistance of a third police officer, was taken into custody.
According to the affected person, he had raised his arms to “give up” however he was taken to the ground. He stated he was “kneed” and that his arm was twisted.
The IIO was notified by VPD on October 2, 2014 after the affected person made a statement about his injuries during a court appearance. He stated his arm had been broken by police during the September 26 arrest.
Over the following weeks, IIO investigators interviewed the affected person; designated subject officers; interviewed witness officers as well as civilians; and obtained the affected person’s medical records.
There was some confusion as to which hospital had seen the affected person and provided treatment for the injuries he believed occurred on September 26, 2014. Initially, the affected person told IIO investigators that he had been seen at St. Paul’s Hospital.
A request for records was made for the period of time between September 26, 2014 and October 3, 2014. On December 9, 2014, St. Paul’s Hospital replied “this patient has not been admitted to our facility, therefore a patient record has not been found”.
On April 28, 2015 IIO investigators located and contacted the affected person again and received his consent to obtain records from any of the Vancouver area hospitals.
Shortly after multiple requests were made, St. Paul’s provided records from September 29, 2014 indicating the affected person had been seen for complaints of upper body injuries which he stated had occurred two days prior. The records confirmed that the affected person was examined and x-rayed for reported injuries to his right arm, his chest/ribs area, and his right ankle.
The discharge summary provided a comprehensive description of the affected person’s injuries which included a small avulsion fracture to the olecranon (the area of the forearm that projects behind the elbow). In this instance, surgery was not required. The injury was treated with “reassurance and a sling for comfort”.
In order for the IIO to sustain jurisdiction, the Chief Civilian Director must be satisfied that a person died or experienced serious harm AND that there was a relationship (or nexus) to an officer’s actions. In this case, the nexus test was met.
Serious harm is defined as “injury that (a) may result in death, (b) may cause serious disfigurement, or (c) may cause substantial loss or impairment of mobility of the body as a whole or the function of any limb or organ”.
The level of injury in this case does not meet the test of serious harm and as such, the CCD has released jurisdiction and has no further interest.