Police allegedly beat innocent East Vancouver man
Police pursuing bank robber get wrong guy, then learn there was no robbery
Vancouver police are caught in an embarrassing situation in which they're accused of beating up a man who they thought was a bank robber. Not only was he not the right guy — it turned out no bank had been robbed.
Manjit Singh says he had just taken his garbage out the curb of his home near Joyce Street and Kingsway when a police officer approached him.
"He pushed me on the fence," said Singh, 51.
Other officers then swarmed him and started beating him up, Singh said.
"One guy put the knee on my neck, one guy put the knee on my legs," he said. "They start kicking me … powerful kicks. Left, right, left, right."
Singh's wife says an officer told her Singh had just committed a crime.
"He said [Singh] just robbed two banks and he dropped something off over there and I said, 'No he just dropped off the garbage there,'" said Sarita Shankaran.
The Vancouver Police Department acknowledges six of its police officers were investigating a possible bank robbery in the area when Singh was confronted.
Another man was eventually apprehended, but was later released after police realized no offence had actually been committed.
As part of an internal police investigation into what happened, three officers arrived at Singh's house Friday but Shankaran turned them away.
She said the family is seeking legal advice.
Vancouver police are not hesitating to admit the error.
"We're sorry, we've apologized yesterday and we've apologized today," said spokeswoman Const. Jana McGuinness. "Chief [Jim] Chu called and spoke to the family on the phone last night."
The case appears to be similar to an incident in 2010 when South Vancouver resident Yao Wei Wu was pulled out of his home and roughed up by two plainclothes officers who mistook him for another man who had allegedly assaulted his wife.
"I need justice now," said Singh, who suffered cuts, bruises and apparent trauma. "Why they attack on one innocent guy? They can talk to me nicely."
With files from the CBC's Meera Bains