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Satan's Evil Twin

Matt Gurney: How long does it take to beat a suspect in Vancouver?

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Matt Gurney: How long does it take to beat a suspect in Vancouver?

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| Aug 17, 2012 11:40 AM ET

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How long does it take to assault someone? Common sense would tell you as long as it takes to lash out with a foot or fist. The Vancouver Police Department, however, seems to measure time differently.

On Wednesday, a man robbed a Vancouver sex shop of cash and merchandise. He then apparently tried to hijack a car, but the female driver escaped and called police, who located and arrested the suspect, a Ryan James Felton. He was handcuffed and set down on the curb while police apparently decided what to do with him (he was eventually transported to a local hospital and treated for a drug overdose, before being released and charged with robbery). While the police are talking, the man, clearly disoriented, is reeling from side to side. There seems to be some shouting between Mr. Felton and the officers. A plainclothes police officer then kicks Mr. Felton in the chest, knocking him over with a cry of pain. The other police officers standing around appear surprised, but do nothing.

In what’s become a familiar story, the incident came to light because it was caught on film. A producer for CBC Vancouver had his camera running and captured the moment when the officer kicked the handcuffed Mr. Felton. It needs to be made very clear that the suspect was entirely subdued — his hands were cuffed behind his back, he was sitting nearly naked on the ground, surrounded by five men, including at least one confirmed plainclothes officer and two uniformed officers. If one wanted to find a textbook definition of a suspect who was no longer a threat, Mr. Felton would be a fair place to start.

The Vancouver Police, when confronted by the video, promised immediate action. The officer seen kicking the suspect, who is unnamed but said to be a 10-year veteran of the force, has been removed from operational duties and an investigation into the incident has been launched. But Const. Lindsey Houghton, speaking on behalf of the force at a Thursday night press conference, cautioned the media and the public not to rush to judgment.

“The video is extremely brief — it’s only six seconds long,” he said. “It’s a very short snapshot of the entire incident. From the time the robbery took place to the time the man was taken to the hospital was several minutes in length, so six seconds is not a lot of time.”

No. By almost any standard, six seconds is not a lot of time. But exactly how long does it take a person to kick a helpless man? Less than six seconds.

The entire incident highlights yet again the profound disconnect between how the police would react to an incident committed against one of their own by a member of the public, and incident committed by one of their own against that very same public. Imagine, for instance, a CBC producer filming a verbal altercation between a police officer and a civilian, during which the civilian lashes out and strikes the officer.

That civilian would be immediately arrested and charged with whatever the Crown thought would stick. Assault, certainly. Resisting arrest, most likely. Other charges would be likely depending on the circumstances. And you can rest assured the other police officers standing around wouldn’t simply watch with surprise without taking any action. And it wouldn’t matter to the police, not one bit, that the video only showed six seconds of the incident. The civilian striking a police officer would be enough.

And rightfully so. Kicking or punching another person, when not under threat, is an attack. This isn’t hard. The fact that we are absent the context of the entire incident is irrelevant — the apparent crime was the blow itself, not everything before it, and therefore the blow is what needed be established. Six seconds is more than enough to establish that the suspect was handcuffed and on the ground when assaulted, or, in other words, was not a threat.

The Vancouver Police Department will of course conduct their investigation into the incident, as they must. It is highly probable that some action will be taken against the officer who struck Mr. Felton. But that will not be enough to address the bigger issue here. That several other police officers watched the entire incident without interfering, and that the Vancouver Police think the video doesn’t speak for itself, clearly shows the double standard that exists when crimes are allegedly committed by law enforcement officers. The rest of us would be blessed indeed to enjoy the benefit of that much doubt.

National Post

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That's what I think about that.

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i have little to no sympathy for drug addled, shoplifting, attempted hijacking probably homeless no good for nothing pieces of cr@p like this, its funny this guy commits 4-5 crimes in an hour and someone gives him a good boot (probably deserved it) and all of a sudden hes the victim.

Obviously VPD needs to handle this better but it sure is annoying to see a guy this portrayed as a victim & who knows maybe the guy spat on him id kick him in the chest for that to knock him over.

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Robbery, attempted carjacking, and he's the victim. :rolleyes:

Also, after watching the tape on CBC, that was not a kick. That was more of a leg extension intended for the carjacker to stay down instead of sitting up. You can hear before that a voice telling him to "stay down".

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Robbery, attempted carjacking, and he's the victim. :rolleyes:

Also, after watching the tape on CBC, that was not a kick. That was more of a leg extension intended for the carjacker to stay down instead of sitting up. You can hear before that a voice telling him to "stay down".

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i have little to no sympathy for drug addled, shoplifting, attempted hijacking probably homeless no good for nothing pieces of cr@p like this, its funny this guy commits 4-5 crimes in an hour and someone gives him a good boot (probably deserved it) and all of a sudden hes the victim.

Obviously VPD needs to handle this better but it sure is annoying to see a guy this portrayed as a victim & who knows maybe the guy spat on him id kick him in the chest for that to knock him over.

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i have little to no sympathy for drug addled, shoplifting, attempted hijacking probably homeless no good for nothing pieces of cr@p like this, its funny this guy commits 4-5 crimes in an hour and someone gives him a good boot (probably deserved it) and all of a sudden hes the victim.

Obviously VPD needs to handle this better but it sure is annoying to see a guy this portrayed as a victim & who knows maybe the guy spat on him id kick him in the chest for that to knock him over.

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This cop and everyone around him should lose their jobs and face criminal prosecution. Maybe they can share a bench with the naked guy.

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There was nothing excessive with that move. The cops have enough difficulty doing there jobs as it is. They spend more time doing paperwork and worrying about losing cases on technicalities for the slightest misstep. If you'd been the one carjacked you wouldn't even notice it.

You're hysterical, really.

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Don't feel sorry for the guy at all.

If you don't want to get kicked in the chest by a cop, don't go around stealing goods and hijacking vehicles.

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I have no sympathy for that criminal. Maybe the cops told him to stay down?

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People are such pussies and complain about everything now..... A kick in the chest? Boo ???? hoo, people need to harden up.

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People are such pussies and complain about everything now..... A kick in the chest? Boo ???? hoo, people need to harden up.

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Yeah, I'll back the VPD on that one

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How is it not excessive when it wasn't necessary at all :picard:

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It's funny, because I've been in situations where I've been questioned by police, and even hand cuffed, and never have I been struck, or assaulted, or whatever you want to call this.

You know why? Because when a guy who's working a difficult job tells me to do something I don't mess around, I do it.

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Stupid cop should know that doing something like that fracks up the arrest big time.

Just throw him in jail

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It wasn't a kick but it also wasn't just a leg extension gently keeping the guy down.

It was a shove if anything...To me it look like his foot is on the guys chest and then he pushes him with his foot.

If he was told to stay down and he didn't stay down that's on him.

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