Homeless Man Alleges Police Beating

Pivot asks any witnesses who saw the September 24th arrest at Olympic Village to come forward  

For Immediate Release
October 22, 2013

Vancouver - A 36 year old homeless man is claiming excessive force was used by the Vancouver Police Department following an arrest, saying officers threw him to the ground and punched and kicked his face. He alleges that the beating included a kick to the face after he was placed in handcuffs. Pictures of the man taken two days after the incident (#1#2#3), and one week after the incident (#4#5) show the numerous cuts and bruises to his face and an eye swollen shut, raising serious concerns about the level of force used by the VPD. 

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Using the law as a catalyst for positive social change, Pivot Legal Society works to improve the lives of marginalized communities.

Travis Dunford, who has been living underneath the Georgia Viaduct after being unable to find a shelter bed, claims that on September 24, 2013 he was stopped by police and suspected of stealing a bike tire. He states that despite following police commands he was taken to the ground by five officers and beaten. Pivot is now looking for any potential witnesses who may have seen the beating and hoping they will come forward. The incident took place at approximately 10:30 PM in an open area out front of the Tap & Barrel pub at the Olympic Village. 

"Whenever you see these types of injuries to the face it raises a lot of questions about how that level of force could be justified." said Douglas King, staff lawyer and policing campaigner for Pivot Legal Society. "If anyone was present and witnessed this happen, or took video of the events, we would love to speak to them". 

The issue of use of force by Vancouver Police Department members was recently highlighted in the case of Adishea Akhivan, a cyclist who was punched in the face after disputing a ticket for running a red light. Despite initial attempts by the Vancouver Police Department and Vancouver Police Union to justify the use of force, the constable involved, Ismail Babha, was charged with assault on September 13th of this year. 

It is unclear at this point whether or not the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner is aware of Mr. Dunford's case and has requested an investigation be made into the use of force. If such an investigation does occur, Pivot is hoping that it will be done by a police force other than the Vancouver Police Department.

"Unfortunately in British Columbia we still have a system where in the vast majority of cases police are allowed to investigate themselves. At the very least we believe these cases should be looked at by a police force other than the VPD, and its high time we put an end to police investigating police altogether" says King. 

Witnesses with information about the events in question can contact Pivot by phone at (604) 255-9700 ext. 112 or by email at: [email protected] 

Media Contact: Douglas King - cell: (778) 898-6349