Vancouver man alleges police assault
Video of police incident. (SCREENGRAB)
It would be inappropriate for me to speak to the video or provide any further details of an incident currently going through the complaint process.
— VPD Const. Brian Montague
Cameron Stewart doesn't remember much from the night more than a year ago when he was dragged naked from his suite by police after he barricaded himself inside.
But on Monday, the 56-year-old filed a complaint against the Vancouver Police Department after hallway surveillance video surfaced from May 26, 2013 appearing to show an officer kicking him while he was on the ground.
CCTV footage has been reviewed by 24 hours after it was obtained from an anonymous source inside the Marguerite Ford Apartments — a West 2nd Avenue social housing complex that frequently attracts police attention. The video shows two officers dragging a man naked on the floor into the hallway, followed by an officer with three chevrons. When Stewart tries to sit upright to face him, the senior officer leans back, lifts his arms and lunges towards the nude man, who falls suddenly to the ground. However, another officer is blocking the camera view so 24 hours could not verify where or if he was struck, nor what occurred in the suite beforehand.
In an interview, the 56-year-old recovering addict said he was cooking Kraft Dinner, took some sleeping pills and passed out.
“I felt safer barricading myself, it became a habit,” Stewart said. “The smoke detector went off, they couldn't open my door, so they used sort of an axe thing … I remember someone screaming that I was endangering human life but I don't remember anything else.”
Stewart admitted that in the past he has assaulted police officers because of his post-traumatic stress disorder, but claimed he was trying to clean up his life since moving into the complex.
A VPD spokesman confirmed the date of the incident, around 11:30 p.m., adding it was documented in a report by officers shortly after.
“Those are facts that obviously don’t change,” Const. Brian Montague said in an email. “I have unfortunately not seen the video you are referring to.”
Jennifer Allan, founder of activist group Vancouver Cop Block, helped Stewart file a complaint to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, but worried that it may be difficult because the camera view was partly blocked, arguing that “in Vancouver there's just so many cases where the VPD have abused their authority with vulnerable community members.”