A video posted on Facebook that appears to show a plainclothes officer punching a cyclist in the head during an arrest on Tuesday night “only captures one portion of the incident,” Vancouver’s police union says.
Andishae Akhavan has insisted he was not resisting arrest, and said there was no reason for the officer to punch him in the face.
But union president Tom Stamatakis disagreed, saying officers had observed Akhavan riding his bicycle in a manner that “put a lot of people in some risk, whether it’s accident or injury.”
“This was not just a person minding his own business on his way home, abiding by the rules of the road and complying with all the traffic-control devices,” Stamatakis told CBC News.
The officers “did exactly what the public would expect them to do. They took enforcement action and this person made a number of decisions that I would argue probably escalated the situation beyond where it needed to go.”
Akhavan was “allegedly confrontational with police” after being stopped at Robson and Beatty streets for allegedly running a red light, police said.
Akhavan said he was riding his bike without a helmet through Yaletown at about 10:45 p.m. PT when two officers stopped him. Akhavan said he got off his bike and started questioning the officers as one began writing him a ticket.
“At that point they decided to put cuffs on me,” he said. “I was just speaking to them. I didn’t raise my voice or anything, and they started putting the cuffs on me.”
He says that’s when the video showing Akhavan standing at the side of the road being restrained by two plainclothes officers starts.
Captured on camera
Captured on camera
“What is this for?” he asks.
A still from a video posted to Facebook shows a plainclothes Vancouver police officer with a fist raised, moments before it appears he punches a detained cyclist in the face. (Courtesy Mike Schwarz)
Akhavan’s left arm moves as he turns his body to speak to one of the officers again.
“Relax,” the officer orders.
Then Akhavan appears to get punched in the jaw.
“Relax your arm,” the officer then says.
A still from a video posted to Facebook shows a plainclothes Vancouver police officer with a fist apparently making contact with the jaw of a detained cyclist. (Courtesy Mike Schwarz)
The incident was filmed by Mike Schwarz, who says he happened to see his friend surrounded by the officers as he drove by.