Micki Cowan, CTV // Auguast 8, 2012
The incident, which was captured on video by a witness, took place on June 9, 2010 as Const. Taylor Robinson and two other officers passed by Sandy Davidsen on Hastings Street. The footage shows Robinson shoving her to the ground and walking away without helping her up.
After the video footage of the shove was made public, Robinson wrote an apology to Davidsen, saying that he believed she was reaching for his gun.
But Scott Bernstein, a lawyer from Pivot Legal Society representing Davidsen, doesn’t think enough has been done and calls Robinson’s mea-culpa a “non-apology.”
“These letters express regret for leaving her on the ground, but no regret for pushing her. They provide excuses and justifications for pushing her. That’s not an apology and Davidsen is particularly offended by that,” Bernsteintold CTV News.
Crown counsel approved an assault charge against the officer in December 2010 but it was stayed last March after Robinson agreed to complete an “alternative measures” program and write a second apology letter to the victim, according to Pivot.
Davidsen hopes the disciplinary hearings will result in a suspension of duty for Robinson and mandatory training focusing on recognizing disabilities and human rights while policing in communities of marginalized persons.
“I’d like to see him receive more than just a slap on the wrist for what he’s done,” Davidsen said in a Pivot press release.
Sgt. Randy Fincham of the Vancouver Police Department says the Police Complaint Commissioner will review the disciplinary hearing’s decision and ensure that the process is fair.
But Bernstein is skeptical that the police will do a fair job of judging their own and considers it a conflict of interest.
“The police [have] an interest in looking good in the eyes of the public and [being] on good terms in order to be allowed to continue policing,” said Bernstein. “There’s an incentive for them to not come out and say that there’s a culture of abuse from the police.”
The disciplinary hearing is closed to the public. A final decision is expected within the next few weeks.