Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Local News

Hard Takedown Raises Questions

Abby police use rubber bullets on unarmed man

UPDATED: Submitted by Mike Archer, Managing Editor, ChilliwackToday/Ward Draper Linked In photo.

 

astor Ward Draper of The 5 and 2 Ministries today posted an accusation against the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) in their treatment of Roy Roberts who was gunned down with rubber bullets last Wednesday.

 

"At no point did Roy have a weapon in his hand while surrounded by the APD at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday April 16th 2014. It was inside a backpack three to four feet away. They also were not calling him by his name they were calling him John," says Draper.

 

He later added, "I received info about 30 minutes ago that a person working at the incident location was assisting Roy load his Bike. The individual saw weapon in his bag then apparently everything spiralled (sic) downwards from there."

When challenged about his assertion on Facebook, Draper responded, "Video I have shows APD member opening the bag and removing knife from inside, then lies it on the ground."

Draper has told Today he intends to release the video Tuesday.

Through a contact, Today spoke to a retired police officer who agreed to discuss the case on the condition of anonymity about the manner in which Roberts was shot. The officer told us that, when faced with a situation such as the one presented by Mr Roberts, especially when the individual is known to police, the use of rubber bullets is not standard procedure.

"There are a number of other procedures which are indicated," he said. "The one which comes to mind in this circumstance would be to use two plain clothes officers, with a rope, to sneak up behind the man and trip him up, allowing for the officers to remove the knife and subdue the individual."

If, as Draper is alleging, Roberts didn't have a weapon in his hand, the whole approach of the APD comes into question as it is unclear why the officers were afraid of Roberts.

Draper says he is seeking legal advice and is trying to contact the APD before releasing the video. Today has been approached by one other individual claiming to have seen video of the incident which backs up Draper's accusation, but that individual says they are too afraid to make the video public.

Roberts was taken down by police in a hail of rubber bullets Wednesday in what police described as an incident whereby they responded to reports of "a man yelling and brandishing a large knife."

The APD also made an urgent appeal for anyone with videos coverage of them gunning Roberts down saying, "We would like to appeal to all witnesses to come forward. A number of witnesses were observed with smartphones in hand and the APD is requesting a copy of images and video of the incident to ensure that our investigation is complete and comprehensive."

From April 19: [DWS founder Barry] Shantz said that the DWS has been very concerned about Roberts for weeks as the the City and the police have been harassing and bothering him several times a week to try to get him to move and give up his possessions.

"We pleaded with the City, and warned them, that if they kept harassing Roy, something bad was going to happen. It seems they didn't heed our pleas," said Shantz.

In December 2013, a BC Supreme Court Judge referred to the APD as "A Place Time Forgot" because of its treatment of a paraplegic man.

 

 

UPDATE: April 22, 2014

 

Video Shows Mentally Ill Homeless Man Screaming "What Did I Do?" As APD Shoot Him Repeatedly

By Mike Archer. A video released this evening by Pastor Ward Draper of the 5 and 2 Ministries promises to cause the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) some real problems in resuscitating it's battered image.

The video, first reported on the weekend by Abbotsford Today, was taken last Wednesday, April 16th, and shows Abbotsford citizen Roy Roberts being taken down in a hail of rubber bullets by APD officers while screaming "What did I do?"


Sources who know Roy say he was upset because someone stole his money.


The video, (see below and on Today homepage) also clearly demonstrates an APD officer calling Roberts, whose first name is Roy, by the name "John", a tactic sometimes used to disorient people in confrontations with police. Why a police officer would deliberately try to disorient a man in crisis, who suffers from mental illness, while repeatedly shooting him, is a question some Abbotsford residents are finding hard to deal with tonight.


The APD have confirmed with Today Media that they have had more than 200 interactions with Roy Roberts (who is homeless and suffers from mental illness) in the last decade, and know him well.


Draper was on Global TVs Unfiltered show tonight with DJ Larkin of the Pivot Legal Society and neither one could explain why, in a City facing a worldwide reputation for it's mistreatment of its homeless citizens, the police would respond this way to someone they know as well as Roy Roberts.


A fully trained, qualified and certified Hostage/Crisis Negotiator told Today, "I see one huge, glaring error in this incident. As a negotiator, our role is to calm, build rapport and gain compliance. None of this is possible if the individual suspect is not being called by his usual name.

 

How can APD expect Roy to listen and comply if they are calling him "John". How many interactions have they had with him? It is no wonder that Roy was upset and non compliant. This is even more so with a person who suffers from mental illness.


These revelations come just months after a BC Supreme Court judge described the APD as "The Land Time Forgot" for its mistreatment of a paraplegic man in their custody, and after a number of admissions of guilt and payments to homeless Abbotsford men and women after it was found they had been pepper-sprayed, had their belongings taken from them or had them destroyed.


Mr. Roberts was also the victim of the City of Abbotsford this weekend. While he was in hospital after Wednesday's traumatic events at the hands of the APD, the City moved in and took all of his belongings and took them to the dump. This despite assurances to 5 and 2 Ministries and the Abbotsford Chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors (DWS) that his property would be stored for safekeeping.


The DWS had warned the City and officials from the APD that, what the DWS referred to as their campaign of harassment of Mr. Roberts in recent weeks was going to end badly. City, APD and mental health authorities had been visiting Mr. Roberts repeatedly every week for several weeks, attempting to make him move from his camp opposite the Abbotsford Community Services (ACS) building.


Mr. Roberts next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday morning.

 

We will be updating as this story progresses.
 

 

UPDATE: April 23, 2014

 

Petition Started To Stop The Violence Against The Homeless And The Mentally Ill

An online petition has been started to try to convince the Abbotsford Police Department, City Council, the City of Abbotsford and the authorities who have participated in or turned a blind eye to the horrible injustices , civil rights abuses and criminal harassment meted out on the homeless, the mentally ill, the financially challenged, the poor and those who suffer from alcohol and drug addiction in Abbotsford.
 

 

 

 

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