New Westminster – Metro Vancouver Transit Police Chief Doug LePard has commended two of his officers for showing compassion and restraint in an extremely difficult, violent situation.
On Saturday, July 30, 2016, during the busy B.C. Day long weekend, a female Transit Police officer and her partner were patrolling Metrotown Station, observing passengers and assisting when required. As a young man came down from the train platform area, the officer reminded him to tap his Compass fare. Ignoring the officer, he began walking up the stairs leading to the passerelle to the Metrotown Mall. When the officer then asked him to produce his Compass Card, the man adopted a fighting stance and asked the officer to hit him in the face. As she touched the man’s elbow and pointed to a safer location off the stairs, the man elbowed her causing her to fall down the stairs with the man and her partner on top of her. She immediately knew she was injured in her neck and back area.
A struggle took place during which, even though the man exhibited unusual strength, the officers used as little force as possible, speaking softly to him, asking him to relax and calm down. They were eventually able to handcuff the man and move him to a safer location in the area.
Burnaby RCMP arrived shortly afterward to assist and advised that the man’s mother had called saying her son, diagnosed for several mental health conditions, had stopped taking his medication three days earlier and had left home stating he would fight police if confronted. She was very concerned for his safety and the safety of persons he might encounter. Although physically uninjured, based on this information, an ambulance was called and transported him to hospital for psychiatric evaluation and care.
The female officer was also taken to hospital where she was examined and treated for neck and back injuries prior to release. She spoke to the young man’s mother who was very grateful her son had been located before something tragic occurred.
No charges are contemplated due to the mental health status of the young man.
Chief LePard met personally with the officers on the day of the incident to thank them and states, “Our officers deal every day with persons suffering from various forms of mental illness. They receive specialized training to defuse violent situations which may arise from interaction with someone affected. These officers showed remarkable restraint and sensitivity despite injury and the enhanced strength of their of their combatant, resolving the incident with compassion and minimal use of force. I commend them for their actions.”