Vancouver Police Defend Cop Filmed Punching Cyclist in Head
Police officer filmed punching detained cyclist in the head
Police spokesman says the man was allegedly confrontational with the arresting officers.
CBC News - March 27, 2013
[Note: Click HERE to view Facebook video of incident.]
Police in Vancouver are investigating one of their own after a video was posted to Facebook that appears to show a plainclothes officer punching a cyclist in the head during an arrest Tuesday night.
Vancouver police spokesperson Sgt. Randy Fincham says the cyclist was "allegedly confrontational with police" after being stopped at Robson and Beatty streets for apparently running a red light.
Cyclist Andishae Akhavan insists he was not resisting arrest, and says there was no reason for the officer to punch him in the face.
Akhavan says he was riding his bike without a helmet through Yaletown at around 10:45 p.m. PT when two officers stopped him to ask about having run a few red lights.
Akhavan got off his bike and says he started questioning the officers as one began writing him a ticket.
"At that point they decided to put cuffs on me," he said. "I was just speaking to them. I didn't raise my voice or anything, and they started putting the cuffs on me."
He says that's when the video, which shows Akhavan standing at the side of the road being restrained by two plainclothes officers, starts.
"What is this for?" he asks.
Akhavan's left arm moves as he turns his body to speak to one of the officers again.
"Relax," the officer orders.
Then Akhavan appears to get punched in the jaw.
"Relax your arm," the officer then says.
The incident was filmed by Akhavan's friend, Mike Schwarz, who says he happened to see his friend surrounded by the officers as he drove by, so he got out and started filming.
Schwarz says Akhavan did nothing before the camera started recording video to provoke such a reaction.
Schwarz told the officers the incident would go on TV. He posted it to Facebook, and in just a few hours the video received thousands of comments and shares.
Fincham said Akhavan was treated at the scene by Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services for a cut lip.
Akhavan was released but could still face charges, he said.
Fincham said the incident was reported by the officer to his supervisor shortly afterwards.
"The incident has also been reported to the Professional Standards Section of the Vancouver Police Department, who will in turn notify the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner," Fincham said in a written statement.