VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The violent arrest of a cyclist by Vancouver Police has been captured on video, raising questions about how far officers should go during apprehension.
A witness claims Vancouver police hit a cyclist early Wednesday morning on Woodland Street and East Sixth Avenue, then Tasered him and violently put him in handcuffs.
The video starts after witness David Mattatall said a police cruiser knocked a man off his bike shortly after midnight.
The man screams, “You hit me with your car”
The video then shows a struggle where the man attempts to shake off police and falls into a cruiser.
The cruiser’s horn honks several times and the engine revs loudly before the man is Tasered, pulled from the vehicle and held on the ground by several officers.
An officer can be seen punching the man as he yells at the man to put his hands behind his back. The man is eventually put in handcuffs, then lays bloodied on the ground.
Mattatall believes police went too far, claiming at one point an officer kneeled on the man’s neck, as the man shouted, “I can’t breathe,” several times.
“I thought you were going to kill me,” the man said, adding he never fought back.
Another voice in the video claims he saw the police vehicle hit the man.
“I’ve lived in the Downtown Eastside on Cordova and Main for four years and I never really thought police would do this kind of takedown,” Mattatall said.
“So this must be the worst criminal in the world, but I doubt that’s the case.”
The Vancouver Police Department said the incident stems from bylaw infractions because the man was allegedly riding on the sidewalk and without a helmet. The Independent Investigations Office says it is not investigating at the moment.
Officers initially instructed the bicyclist to stop, Sgt. Aaron Roed says in an email says in an email.
“After officers identified themselves, the cyclist then ignored the commands and tried to flee from the police. The cyclist was stopped a short distance later, at which time he began to fight with officers,” Roed adds.
“During the arrest of the accused male, he punched the officer in the face multiple times and attempted to jump into the driver’s seat of the police vehicle. The man tried to steal the police car and revved the engine in an attempt to get away. After a struggle, he was taken into custody.”
The 35-year-old man was arrested for obstructing police officers, failing to comply with a release order, assaulting a peace officer, theft of a motor vehicle and flight from police.
Roed says the man is known to police, has no fixed address, and has been in custody since his arrest.
VPD officers have recommended charges to Crown Counsel.