As It Happens

It was 'an honour' to be pulled over by Const. John Davidson, says Abbotsford man of slain officer

Warren Banks said he was "crushed" when he found out the police officer who pulled him over last month had been killed.
Const. John Davidson died in the line of duty Monday afternoon. (Abbotsford Police Department)

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Warren Banks said he was "crushed" when he found out the police officer who pulled him over last month had been killed.

Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford, B.C. was fatally shot on Monday while trying to arrest a suspect who had allegedly opened fire in the parking lot of a shopping centre.

"It sounds weird. I only met the guy for 20 minutes," Banks told As It Happens host Carol Off. "The guy made such an impact."

Banks was driving home from work on Oct. 31 in full Halloween costume when Davidson pulled him over.

"I had this big, brown, cultist robe on and it had kind of an arcane symbol on the front," Banks said. "Abbotsford's a fairly conservative town, so I was a little 'Uh oh, am I going to get some flak for this?" he said. 

This is the outfit Warren Banks was wearing when he was pulled over on Halloween by Const. John Davidson. (Submitted by Warren Banks)

But to his surprise, Davidson was friendly.

"First of all, he addressed me by name, which I can't remember in my dealings with the police ever having someone address me by name," he said. 

The officer cracked a joke about Banks' costume and explained that his insurance had expired recently. 

"He was very casual and friendly about it, but professional," Banks said. 

 'You get pulled over by the police, you don't usually feel good afterwards.'- Warren Banks, Abbotsford resident 

Davidson could have given Banks a $600 ticket on the spot and had his car impounded.

Instead, he gave him a lesser ticket and told him to leave his car there, go re-up his insurance, then come back for it.

Davidson went back to his car to write the ticket while Banks took out his phone to look for an insurance broker.

"He came back and said, 'Oh, what's the problem?' I said, 'I'm just trying to find an insurance broker to get car insurance.' He said, 'Oh, I know one three blocks down. Just hop in my car and I'll give you a ride.'"

Const. John Davidson, the B.C. police officer who was shot and killed in the line of duty, is being remembered as a hero. His death has shaken his colleagues and the community after carving out a reputation as someone who cared deeply about both his job and the people he was tasked with protecting 2:01

Banks was baffled, but he took the officer up on his offer.

"The whole time I was just noting, like, what a remarkable experience I was having because you get pulled over by the police, you don't usually feel good afterwards."

When they arrived at the insurance place, Banks said he got out of the car, shook the officer's hand and said: "Officer Davidson, it was a pleasure to be arrested by you."

Davidson laughed, Banks said, but quickly corrected that he was not under arrest.

"I said, 'I'm not sure the proper term, but I just wanted to say I think you've done a really good job here today and it was a pleasure meeting you.'"

Banks said Davidson thanked him and they parted ways. 

Officers line the highway to pay their respects to an officer shot in the line of duty in Abbotsford. (Bill Cook)

Later that night, when Banks' girlfriend asked him how his day was, he told her he'd had a crummy time at work then got pulled over.

"And she's like, 'Oh no, what happened?" And I'm like, 'Actually, that's when my day got better," he said.

Banks said he's had bad experiences with police in the past and that Davidson should be a model for other officers. 

"He made an impact and I won't forget him," he said.

People pause at a makeshift memorial for Const. Davidson in Abbotsford, B.C. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

It's a sentiment that's been echoed widely in the community since Davidson's death.

Nicole Provost, 23, a former student at  W.J. Mouat Secondary School between 2008 and 2012 where Const. Davidson worked as a high school liaison, told CBC Vancouver the officer was truly one of her friends.

"He just laughed at pretty much everything students said and he made students feel good about themselves and that they were enough, no matter what," Provost said. "He was a really nice guy to have in your life as a teenager."

The 24-year police veteran leaves behind his wife and three adult children.

— With files from CBC Vancouver