E-biker sues VicPD for being struck by officer’s vehicle after running red light

CHEK

An e-biker is suing Victoria Police, claiming an officer struck them with their vehicle, knocking them down, after running a red light in 2023.

In a 2023 court filing, Alkido Pashollari claims that on Jan. 6, 2023, after running a red light on his e-bike along Gorge Road West and Harriet Road, they noticed an officer turned on their emergency lights. The complainant says they “assumed” the officer was driving past them, so they continued riding.

Moments later, Pashollari says the officer “drove beside me and hit me with her vehicle on my left side, knocking me to the ground.”

The documents further say that the e-biker suffered from a dislocated shoulder, had to be taken to hospital and was unable to work for two weeks. The complainant says their bike was damaged and has not been returned to date.

Pashollari is seeking more than $16,000 in damages.

Watch the report below:

Months after the suit was filed, VicPD denied any allegations of striking the e-biker. However, on June 14, 2024, the police department amended their original claims and admitted to striking the cyclist, claiming they believed the e-biker was fleeing.

“The Claimant refused to stop and the Defendant’s officers used their police vehicle to make contact with the Ebike’s rear-wheel in order to stop the Claimant, and to prevent the Claimant from fleeing,” the documents say.

In addition, the department claims they should not be sued, but rather the City of Victoria.

“The VicPD is not a legal entity and is not capable of being sued … the Corporation of the City of Victoria is the legal entity ultimately responsible for the conduct of the VicPD, including its employees,” read the documents.

CHEK News reached out to Pashollari for comment but did not hear back.

“They don’t have the right to use lethal force in these instances,” said Stephen Harrison.

Harrison, who is a police accountability activist, recently filed several Freedom of Information requests to the department and found that since 2018, there had been at least eight other incidents where an officer forcibly stopped a pedestrian or cyclist with their vehicle.

“I mean, who are you really keeping safe when you’re knocking over cyclists,” said Harrison in a phone interview.

In the FOI documents, officers stated they used their vehicles to stop fleeing cyclists and people on foot or to block sidewalks. In one instance, an officer was chasing down a man who they suspected to be involved in a pepper spray incident in Dec. 2018.

The officer had parked his vehicle “leaving only a small space” between it and a planter box. The officer stated that the suspect was attempting to squeeze between them and, in response, released the brake, trapping the suspect.

In a 2020 Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner report, the watchdog deemed the officer’s actions inappropriate. In the report, VicPD also admitted that it only uses vehicles as a use of force if there is a serious risk of injury or death.

“The Discipline Authority noted that any deployment of a police vehicle as a use of force carries risk and potential serious harm to individuals, and should only be reserved for instances to prevent death or serious bodily harm,” read the report.

The officer received a written reprimand and training as a form of disciplinary action.

In an email to CHEK News, VicPD would not comment due to pending litigation.

Oli Herrera

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