A Toronto man who was illegally shot with “much less deadly” gunshots and arrested by Vancouver police in a case of mistaken identification is talking out about his ordeal, hoping it will not occur to others.
Elijah Barnett, who’s listening to impaired, informed International Information he was strolling his buddy’s canine in downtown Vancouver close to Pacific Boulevard and Richards Road on Wednesday afternoon.
“I keep in mind strolling out of the residence constructing. After which the following factor I keep in mind, I am on the bottom and I believed we had been hit by a automotive,” Barnett stated.
That is the second he says he was overwhelmed by “quite a few” law enforcement officials, arrested in public and shot twice with rubber bullets at shut vary.
“It is horrible. You’ll be able to’t do something. You’ve got boots in your face and our bodies that maintain you down and handcuffs that lower your palms open. You could not do something. I used to be simply screaming for assist.”
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It took hours for police to substantiate that Barnett was not the suspect they had been on the lookout for.
In keeping with the VPD, officers acted on info that an armed and harmful needed man was within the space, and Barnett was launched after receiving medical consideration.
The suspect in query was really 47-year-old Dean Gallant, who is needed throughout Canada and was arrested later that evening close to BC Kids’s Hospital in reference to a violent residence invasion in Calgary.
Barnett, who was sporting headphones and never sporting his listening to aids on the time of his arrest, stated he was stunned and felt “humiliated” by the expertise.
“They attacked me from behind. They beat me whereas asking me questions. They photographed me in a backyard mattress that had a steel fence. So I bought an influence (on my higher physique) from that,” he stated.
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“They shot first and requested questions later. They didn’t method me. Nobody approached me in any respect. I used to be simply crushed and brought to the bottom and interrogated whereas being crushed.”
He says he was left traumatized and in ache, with bruises, cuts and scratches throughout his physique, and is searching for counselling.
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The police have since apologized repeatedly, however for Barnett there may be “no justification” for what he went by means of.
“I really feel like I have been hit by a truck. I’ve mobility issues. I can not actually transfer my neck. I’ve nightmares. Being alone outdoors is known as a lot. I’ve by no means actually needed to really feel so hyper-aware of my environment earlier than and I can not chill out,” he stated.
“I do not know why they’d assume I look something like this particular person. As a result of I do not look something like that… it is mind-boggling.”
He additionally did not have his identification on him, did not assume to deliver it on the stroll. When he tried to supply the pictures of his ID he had despatched to Air Canada as a substitute, officers didn’t settle for them.
The officers additionally requested about his tattoos and questioned how he coated them up so shortly. Barnett believes it is as a result of his tattoos do not match the particular person they’re on the lookout for.
“I pleaded for each little bit of details about me and my household and every part I might give them. It was about an hour of detention and assault earlier than two hours of verification,” Barnett stated.
“It was simply face down on the road in entrance of everybody. It was scary.”
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Police informed International Information on Monday that their emergency response staff was deployed because of the “high-risk nature” of the arrest, and that officers shot the particular person twice with rubber bullets from a “much less deadly” ARWEN rifle.
The VPD notified the Workplace of the Police Complaints Commissioner, which launched knowledgeable conduct investigation into the matter.
“We believed the person we arrested was that suspect. And we took quite a few steps to independently affirm that the person we arrested was that man,” stated VPD Sgt. Steve Addison informed International Information on Monday. “It is actually an unlucky set of circumstances.
“We’re asking the OPCC to only independently assessment all of the circumstances, to analyze a bit extra to search out out precisely what occurred, what might have been finished otherwise and if something will be improved for subsequent time.”
Relying on the result of the investigation into the actions of the arresting officers, there may very well be extra fallout, in accordance with authorized consultants.
“The Metropolis of Vancouver will be held answerable for the actions of particular person law enforcement officials,” stated lawyer Kyle Bienvenu.
“It’s unlikely that the officers themselves can be civilly liable, except they act in a way decided to be grossly negligent. and the usual for that’s a lot, a lot greater,”
Barnett stated he’s within the strategy of hiring his personal lawyer as soon as he returns residence from his go to to Vancouver, and intends to pursue expenses towards the officers. He’s additionally pursuing a medical career in Toronto.
“I need (the officers) all charged with a criminal offense of violence as a result of that is precisely what it was. Violent assault. It was essentially the most violence I’ve ever skilled in my life,” he stated.
-With information from International’s Emad Agahi and Simon Little
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