Vancouver officer charged with assaulting cyclist
Constable's punch to the head of cyclist caught on video
A Vancouver police officer has been charged with assaulting a cyclist after video of the punch was posted on the internet.
The incident happened in March in downtown Vancouver while Const. Ismail Bhabha was handcuffing cyclist Adishea Akhavan after pulling him over for riding without a helmet and running a red light.
When the cyclist asks the officer, "What is this for?" a video taken by an onlooker appears to show Bhabha winding up and punching Akhavan in the head, which he says he never saw coming — and left him with a tooth through his lip.
The video of the incident was posted on Facebook and quickly spread virally through social media, sparking widespread outrage.
The Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner ordered West Vancouver police to investigate the incident.
Office spokesman Rollie Woods said the officer is innocent until proven guilty, and the video doesn't show what may have happened before Bhabha punched Akhivan.
"Whenever there's video evidence, no matter how bad it may look, you have to really wait until you get the whole investigation, all of the evidence, before you decide," he said.
"It's really just one piece of evidence. Admittedly, that clip does not look very good. It's concerning."
The assault charge against Bhabha was sworn this morning in provincial court in Vancouver.
Vancouver police Sgt. Randy Fincham said Bhabha is still at work but has been moved to another location within the force.