Vancouver Police took the unusual step of presenting their side of a June 2011 incident in which a police dog mauled a skateboarder who has subsequently filed a lawsuit against them.
Deputy Chief Adam Palmer played a graphic video of skateboarder Chris Evans smashing a Coast Mountain bus repeatedly with his skateboard, screaming profanities and breaking windows on the passenger side of the vehicle.
That led to a call to the police, who responded with a canine squad. In the ensuing arrest Evans suffered extensive injuries to his leg.
“We want to provide some context because at this point you’ve only heard one side of the story,” said Palmer.
Police recommended charges against Evans but the crown decided to stay them.
In a Province story last week, Evans said he knew he did wrong – but thinks the resulting police-dog attack was way out of line.
Evans says he lost his temper when three buses drove right by him and he smashed the last one with a skateboard – but the vicious attack he suffered was complete overkill.
“For a moment of losing my temper, it’s a huge price to pay,” said the a 33-year-old construction worker. “I lost my apartment, I lost my job and my leg doesn’t work. What I did was wrong, but the repercussions are ridiculous.”
Evans said he required about 100 staples to close his wounds after the attack.
“When the bus took off, I decided to skateboard home,” said Evans. “I didn’t even know there were police around. A police dog should never be the first responder.”
Meanwhile, the Pivot Legal Society is asking the Vancouver Police Department to probe what it calls a “really high” number of instances of police dogs biting suspects.
According to statistics from the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC), between March 2011 and January 2012, 46 per cent of the reportable injuries received from B.C. municipal forces came from police dog bites. The year before it was 48 per cent. A recent OPCC quarterly report states that “most reportable injuries are as a result of police dog bites.”