British Columbia

Man at centre of violent Vancouver police takedown charged with resisting arrest, car theft

Olie Alexander Smith, 35, charged with resisting arrest, theft of motor vehicle. Meanwhile, police will be investigated following witness reports of excessive force.

Bystanders have asked for investigation into whether officers used excessive force

Screenshots from two different videos appear to show a Vancouver Police Department officer with his knee on the neck of a man. (David Mattatall and Andrew Louzi)

A man caught on camera in a violent scuffle with Vancouver police has been charged with resisting arrest and theft of a motor vehicle while an investigation is underway to determine if arresting officers used excessive force.

Olie Alexander Smith, 35, has also been charged with obstructing a peace officer. Smith has no fixed address and a lengthy criminal background that includes thefts and assault.

CBC News reported on Smith's arrest on Aug. 12 after several videos recorded by passersby surfaced. A pair of witnesses alleged the VPD used excessive force in taking him down and subsequently filed a complaint with the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner.

A spokesperson from the OPCC said the oversight body is still looking for a third party to conduct the investigation.

What the video shows

The arrest took place near the intersection of Woodland Drive and Sixth Avenue. Smith was on his bike when told to stop by two officers, alleging he had violated a local bylaw. That's when police say he fled.

Witnesses nearby told CBC News that the patrol car began chasing Smith, ramming into him and his bike. Video recordings do not show the alleged ramming, but do show the events that followed.

Two officers struggle to control Smith. During a scuffle, he lands inside the driver-side of a police cruiser.

Witnesses capture video of Vancouver police takedown of suspect

8 months ago
1:53
Videos sent to CBC show police officers attempting to arrest a man in the early morning of Aug. 12. 1:53

"Get out of the car, asshole," an officer can be heard yelling as he attempts to pull the man out. He then goes to the passenger side of the vehicle and begins punching him.

At this point, the engine starts revving. Backup officers arrive on scene and Taser the man. He is dragged to the ground where several officers pin him down.

The officer who previously punched the man joins the group and begins to punch him multiple times in the head.

"I'm pro-police. Please help me. I can't breathe," the man is heard screaming. "Get off my neck. Get off my neck."

Witness David Mattatall can be heard shouting at the officers to get off Smith's neck.

"I'm not on his neck," the officer shouts back.

The video shows the officer's right knee against the man's neck, as blood drips down his face.

David Mattatall and Andrew Louzi both recorded a takedown by VPD officers near Woodland Drive and Sixth Avenue in East Vancouver on Aug. 12, 2020. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The VPD alleges Smith punched an officer in the face multiple times during the altercation and attempted to steal the cruiser.

Smith is expected to appear in Vancouver Provincial Court on Aug. 26.

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