On the morning of January 11th at about 10am a man walked into the Waves coffee shop at 305 Main Street in Vancouver. Shortly after the young woman working alone behind the counter opened the till, the man grabbed some money, and ran away. Officers were dispatched after someone called 911 and officers from the Vancouver Police Department quickly apprehended the suspect. So far so good, right?
Once the perpetrator was caught, the police officers brought the man back to the coffee shop with handcuffs on. According to a report by a man who was there, the officers brought the man up to the woman working behind the till and he was asked to apologize to her. The witness commented that the woman “was so scarred and the VPD asked if she will press charges, she was too scared and said no.” The cops then took the handcuffs off of the man and set him free.
When I first posted the allegations on Twitter, the VPD wrote back saying “our records do not show any incident from today”. Embarassed, I apologized for the confusion and promised to get back to them with contact information on the man who posted the story on his Facebook page. This morning I wrote back to the VPD telling them I had the witness’ contact information and they responded with the following message:
The VPD’s webpage on restorative justice describes the process saying:
“While traditionally criminal justice systems have focused on punishing offenders and removing them from society. Today, criminal justice systems around the world are adopting approaches that minimize the effects of crime on people and communities and prevent offenders from committing more crimes.”
It’s unknown how forcing the perpetrator to say “I’m sorry” sorry will prevent him from committing future crimes- logic dictates it would result in the opposite effect. Speaking to the witness today, he expressed his concern that it was unfair for the VPD to put the woman working behind the counter in the position where she had to accept the man’s apology- particularly considering she was asked to accept it right in front of him. He also noted that the man is now walking around freely in front of the coffee shop- that must make her feel safe!
Of course, none of this should really come as a surprise, the VPD appear to habitually allow people to get away with serious crimes. Another shocking example happened at last year’s May Day protest where protester Dan Wallace openly called for people to use violence “against the police” in front of about a dozen cops. At one point Wallace intentionally pushed himself through a couple of cops- and the man was never arrested. Wallace is now organizing #ShutDownCanada, openly calling for people to interrupt trains, highways and pipeline projects on February 13th.
There’s a lesson behind all of this. If one is planning a life of crime, there’s probably no better place to launch their career than in Vancouver…