Amy O'Brian of the Vancouver Sun reports that at least two Vancouver Police officers appeared to use "unnecessary and excessive" force during the GUNS N' ROSES riot last fall, the police complaint commissioner said Friday (October 10).
Commissioner Dirk Ryneveld made the statement in a written notice for a public hearing that will examine the events of last Nov. 7, when fans of the legendary 1980s rock band erupted in anger when lead singer Axl Rose unexpectedly cancelled the show at GM Place.
Police moved in to disperse the rioting crowd and allegedly injured at least two men in the process.
Robert Parent and Detlef Schroeder lodged complaints under the B.C. Police Act that they were injured when officers used unnecessary and excessive force. Video footage (Windows Media: High-Speed, Low-Speed) of that night shows Schroeder being beaten by police armed with batons as he was leaving the stadium with his daughter. Further footage shows an officer using his baton to knock out two of Parent's teeth. "In my view, the video footage clearly depicts at least two separate incidents in which two officers appear to be using unnecessary and excessive force against Messrs. Parent and Schroeder," Ryneveld's statement reads.
When Ryneveld announced the public hearing Oct. 3, his opinion of the officers' use of force was somewhat different.
In his initial statement, Ryneveld said the actions of the police were "entirely appropriate given the circumstances," and that the hearing was warranted because of the seriousness of the complaints and the harm suffered by the complainants. (In addition to the two teeth Parent lost the night of the riot, he later had to have six teeth removed as a result of the incident.)
In Friday's statement, Ryneveld said neither Parent nor Schroeder appeared to be involved in acts of "hooliganism" on the night of Nov. 7, neither did they appear to be resisting or disobeying police.
"Indeed, both complainants appeared to be attempting to comply with police commands to leave the area when they received blows resulting in their injuries," said Friday's statement.
But the commissioner did not accuse all the officers who attended of using excessive force, and emphasized that "the actions of most of the police officers involved in the dangerous situation at GM Place that evening were appropriate." Read more.