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Video shows police officer taking firefighter’s hose, spraying people in East Vancouver



Video shows police officer taking firefighter’s hose, spraying people in East Vancouver

The Vancouver Police Department is defending the actions of an officer who was recorded taking a firefighter’s water hose and spraying two people in the head on Canada Day.

The video was submitted to CTV News by a witness who did not want to be identified, but found the officer’s behaviour concerning and unnecessary.

“I’ve never seen them turn a hose on someone, not in Vancouver anyway,” she said. “That’s a high-powered device that could do serious damage to someone.”

The video shows a group of people standing around a pile of pallets that were set ablaze on the pavement near Woodland Park around 10 p.m. that night.

The witness who spoke with CTV News suggested the incident began as an anti-Canada Day protest that escalated, and that flags were also burned in the fire. Dumpsters were moved into the roadway to block traffic as well.

In the video, as a firefighter douses the flames, a police officer walks up and takes the hose – while the fire is still burning – and aims it at two people standing nearby.

Neither of the people who were sprayed falls over, or appears to be injured.

Police spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin said officers had been called to assist firefighters with a “very chaotic scene” involving dozens of people in masks, some of whom were allegedly drunk and throwing beer bottles.

“This was not a protest at all,” Visitin said Wednesday. “This was a bunch of unruly, belligerent, intoxicated individuals that were coming there to create havoc and destruction.”

Visintin said one of the people who were sprayed had been “throwing jerry cans” at the fire, and that the officer was using the hose to keep him away. She did not explain why the officer sprayed the second person.

“It’s definitely unconventional, but quite frankly it’s creative,” Visintin said. “This officer felt that this was his only option at this point, it was the safest option. Verbally speaking to these people was not working, they were not listening, and they were continuing to yell at police, swear at police, throw things at police.”

The video shared with CTV News – which is only 16 seconds long – does not depict anyone attacking first responders.

In a statement, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services declined to comment on the officer’s use of the fire hose, but said there was considerable danger at the scene because the flames were “impinging on a hydro pole and high-voltage wires above the fire.”

“The area directly under the power lines was considered an extremely dangerous zone,” VFRS said.

While there are no jerry cans or Canadian flags visible in the video, pictures taken of the scene the following day show some kind of red material among the burned out wreckage.

Two photos submitted to CTV News show the aftermath of a fire in East Vancouver.

Firefighters said “flammable liquids” and fireworks were used to ignite the pallets.

Visintin said officers did not ultimately arrest anyone for any of the alleged behaviour at the incident, and that none of the neighbouring properties were damaged.

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