Surveillance video surfaced of a police car crashing into a man in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside this week, revealing the victim had been stationary for at least 10 seconds before the collision.
The disturbing video shows the pedestrian hunched over and motionless in the middle of East Hastings Street early Tuesday morning when the police vehicle violently overturned him.
The pedestrian was seriously injured and remained hospitalized Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s awful,” said Vince Tao, a community organizer with the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users. “The speed at which the officers just rammed into the man is shocking.”
This section of Hastings has a reduced speed limit of 30 km/h, which the City of Vancouver implemented after commissioning a study through VANDU on how to keep pedestrians safe in the area.
It is not known how fast the cruiser was going before the collision. The Vancouver Police Department did not respond when asked by CTV News if the driving officer was heading to an active crime scene. The vehicle did not activate its hazard warning lights.
Tao asked why the driver didn’t stop, given the circumstances.
“The man who was hit by the VPD cruiser was just standing there. He wasn’t acting erratically,” Tao said. “It is obviously very worrying that VPD officers are driving at this speed at night, that they are not paying attention to the road.”
Police spokesman, Sgt. Steve Addison said the facts and circumstances surrounding the collision will be determined by BC police watchdog the Office of Independent Investigations, which has been briefed on the crash.
“We hope this investigation will shed light on the factors that led to the collision, including why the pedestrian was standing still in the middle of the road, why officers did not see the person, the speed of the police vehicle and other contributing factors,” Addison told CTV News in an email.
VANDU also accused police responding to the collision of acting aggressively with those at the scene, including first responders who were treating the victim.
On Tuesday, police released a statement alleging bystanders were “attempting to interfere with evidence at the scene of the collision by taking away property belonging to the man who was struck.”
Addison also noted Wednesday that VANDU had posted on social media following the collision saying the victim had died.
“They were later forced to remove this inaccurate information, and we ask that you carefully verify any other salacious claims by this group,” he wrote.
In the Vancouver Police Department’s initial statement of the accident, authorities said the pedestrian had “walked” on the road.
With files from Kevin Charach of CTV News Vancouver