VicPD officer ‘used an inappropriate amount of force’ when striking e-biker with cruiser, investigation finds

CHEK
Victoria Police headquarters are pictured in this file photo.

Victoria police say the officer who hit an e-biker with their cruiser used an “inappropriate amount of force” and was disciplined as a result.

VicPD on Monday says it wrapped up its internal investigation into the Jan. 6, 2023, incident and submitted its findings to the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPCC).

Police say the investigation was launched after the e-biker “claimed to have sustained injuries during this interaction,” which happened on Gorge Road.

They say the investigation “took place to determine whether the officer had used an appropriate amount of force,” noting the use of a vehicle is considered an “intermediate use of force” that falls under the VicPD Use of Force policy.

“…it is generally rare for officers to use a vehicle as a force option,” said VicPD.

They say the incident occurred after an officer “observed a person of interest riding an e-bike. The officer had reason to believe that the person on the bike was wanted on warrants and was considered a danger to the community.”

VicPD says the officer followed at a distance before seeing the e-biker, while in the 300-block of Gorge Road, run a red light, which is a motor vehicle offence.

The officer activated lights and sirens and followed behind the e-biker.

“When the rider failed to stop, the officer used their vehicle to stop the e-bike by making contact with the rear wheel of the bike,” said police in a statement.

They say the officer had then discovered that the e-biker was wanted on out-of-province warrants for arrest, adding, “The rider of the bike was also found to be breaching court-ordered conditions related to a serious offence, was arrested for that breach and subsequently convicted.”

Yet Stephen Harrison, a police accountability activist, says officers “don’t have the right to use lethal force in these instances,” adding in an interview with CHEK News, “I mean, who are you really keeping safe when you’re knocking over cyclists?”

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

In a 2023 court filing, Alkido Pashollari claims that on Jan. 6, 2023, he ran a red light while riding an e-bike on Gorge Road, where a VicPD officer then turned on their emergency lights.

In the filing, Pashollari says he “assumed” the officer was driving past them, so he continued riding. But moments later, the officer “drove beside me and hit me with her vehicle on my left side, knocking me to the ground.”

The documents say Pashollari suffered a dislocated shoulder and had to be taken to hospital. He claims he was unable to work for two weeks, and his bike was damaged. He sought more than $16,000 in damages.

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

VicPD, meanwhile, says the e-biker’s injuries “were not sustained as claimed.”

Months after the suit was filed, VicPD denied the allegations. But earlier this month, the department amended its original claims, admitting to striking the e-biker.

It also said the City of Victoria should be sued, rather than VicPD, as the department “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.”

In regards to its investigation submitted to the OPCC, police say, “Additional details of the investigation and discipline cannot be provided.”

“…the officer had used an inappropriate amount of force, and the officer was disciplined,” added VicPD.

“The owner of the e-bike commenced the claims process with ICBC by filing court documents recently presented in media. ICBC is contacting the cyclist to clarify the Enhanced Care claims process.”

-with files from CHEK’s Oli Herrera

Ethan Morneau

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