Const. Taylor Robinson suspended 6 days for shoving woman on Vancouver street
Former B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal calls officer 'callous and reckless'
Const. Taylor Robinson, a Vancouver police officer, has been given a six-day unpaid suspension for pushing a woman to the ground in the city's Downtown Eastside in June 2010.
In a case that gained notoriety after a video of the incident surfaced, Robinson was shown shoving Sandy Davidsen — who suffers from multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy — to the ground as she tried to pass between three police officers on the street.
In what the adjudicator on the case, former B.C. attorney general Wally Oppal, called a "callous and reckless" decision, Robinson did not help Davidsen back to her feet.
In giving his decision, Oppal noted that Robinson had only been on the police force for six months at the time of the incident, and that this fact, along with the officer's remorse over his actions, were mitigating factors in determining the length of the suspension.
However, Oppal said, Robinson's failure to help Davidsen up was "callous and reckless." He also called the two-day suspension called for by Robinson's lawyers "inadequate."
A six-day suspension was a more appropriate sanction, Oppal said.
Davidsen's lawyer, Douglas King, had called for a 15-day suspension.
"I think [Davidsen] expected a bit of a stricter punishment," he said.
King had asked Oppal to make recommendations on police practices in the Downtown Eastside and said that Oppal's refusal to do so was "a missed opportunity."
"If we're going to have a public hearing into a case, we should be able to talk about all issues surrounding it," King said.
Robinson was charged with assault in December 2010 following a public outcry over the incident, but the charge was later stayed and Robinson was ordered to complete an alternative measures program.
After an investigation by the New Westminster Police Department in 2012, which concluded the video clearly demonstrated abuse of authority and neglect of duty, it was recommended that Vancouver police take greater disciplinary action against Robinson.
Robinson said in a written apology to Davidsen that he thought she was reaching for his weapon and that he regrets not helping her off the ground after pushing her down.
With files from Farrah Merali