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Vancouver Police Defend Officer Who Sprayed People With Fire Hose

Vancouver Police Defend Officer Who Sprayed People With Fire Hose
Vancouver Police Defend Officer Who Sprayed People With Fire Hose

Vancouver police are defending the actions of an officer who was filmed grabbing a firefighter’s hose and spraying two people in the head on Canada Day.

The video was provided to CTV News by a witness who did not want to be named but called the officer’s behavior disturbing and unnecessary.

“I’ve never seen them point a hose at anyone, at least not in Vancouver,” she said. “That’s a powerful device that can do serious harm to someone.”

The video shows a group of people standing around a pile of pallets that had been set on fire on the sidewalk near Woodland Park around 10 p.m.

The witness who spoke to CTV News suggested the incident started as a Canada Day protest that escalated, and that flags were also burned in the fire. Trash cans were also placed in the road to block traffic.

The video shows a firefighter extinguishing the flames as a police officer steps forward, grabs the hose and aims it at two people standing nearby as the fire continues to rage.

None of the sprayed people fall over and appear to be injured.

Police spokeswoman Const. Tania Visintin said officers were called to assist firefighters with a “very chaotic scene” involving dozens of people in masks, some of whom were reportedly drunk and throwing beer bottles.

“This was not a protest at all,” Visitin said Wednesday. “This was a group of unruly, aggressive, intoxicated individuals who came there to create chaos and destruction.”

Visintin said one of the people sprayed threw “jerry cans” at the fire, and the officer used the hose to keep him away. She did not explain why the officer sprayed the second person.

“It’s definitely unconventional, but honestly it’s creative,” Visintin said. “This officer felt that this was his only option at this point, it was the safest option. Verbally talking to these people didn’t work, they didn’t listen and they just kept yelling at the police, cursing at the police, throwing things at the police.”

The video shared with CTV News, which is just 16 seconds long, does not show anyone attacking emergency workers.

The Vancouver Fire Department declined to comment on the officer’s use of the hose in a statement, but said there was significant danger at the scene because the flames “contacted a power pole and overhead power lines.”

“The area directly beneath the power lines was considered an extremely hazardous zone,” VFRS said.

Although no jerry cans or Canadian flags are visible in the video, photos taken of the crime scene the next day do show some sort of red material among the burned-out wreckage.

Two photos sent to CTV News show the aftermath of a fire in East Vancouver.

Firefighters said “flammable liquids” and fireworks were used to set the pallets on fire.

According to Visintin, officers ultimately did not arrest anyone for the alleged behavior during the incident and no damage was caused to neighboring properties.