Vancouver – A woman has been charged for assaulting a police officer at Main and Hastings on Tuesday, and several others are under criminal investigation after Vancouver Police were swarmed while responding to reports of a man acting violently inside the Carnegie Centre.
Alene West, 44, was charged with assault with a weapon and released by the courts, after an officer was struck in the head with an object. The officer was one of seven VPD members who were surrounded and assaulted after staff from the Carnegie Centre phoned 9-1-1 and asked for help to deal with an unruly man who was destroying property and putting other people in danger.
“These officers were just doing their jobs – fulfilling their duty to protect the public and apprehend a violent offender,” says Sergeant Steve Addison. “The Carnegie Centre is a gathering place for low-income and marginalized community members, and when our officers were called to help, they were surrounded by people who threw objects at them, bit them, punched them in the face, and tried to prevent them from making a lawful arrest.
“This incident is another example of our officers facing violence while trying to maintain some degree of public safety in an increasingly hostile neighbourhood.”
The incident occurred Tuesday afternoon, at the same time and place as City of Vancouver staff were making rounds near Main and Hastings to inform people of a Vancouver Fire Rescue Services order to remove tents that line the sidewalks in the area. The City of Vancouver had asked Vancouver Police to have officers nearby, however, VPD had no role in the removing of tents, structures, debris, or personal items.
Dozens of onlookers had gathered in the area to observe the city workers interact with people occupying tents, and when VPD officers arrived at the Carnegie Centre for the unrelated incident they were surrounded and assaulted by part of the crowd. Additional police officers were called in from other parts of the city to restore order, and withdrew from the area once the violent crowd was dispersed.
In total, seven people were arrested, including three who were temporarily detained at jail for breaching the peace. Three others, including the man who was initially acting violent inside the Carnegie Centre, are expected to appear in court at a later day to face criminal charges.