Article by Jesse Winter
The Vancouver Police Department is refusing to identify two officers at the centre of growing complaints about police harassment in the Downtown Eastside.
Pivot Legal Society and the Overdose Prevention Society (OPS) held a small rally next to the DTES Market on Tuesday, handing out flyers with photos of the two officers in question and collecting stories of people who say they’ve been harmed or harassed by the two men.
The situation came to a head over the weekend, after the two officers seized marijuana and other cannabis products from the High Hopes Foundation dispensary at the DTES Market on Friday. The High Hopes Foundation distributes cannabis to help people get off opioids.
After OPS co-founder Sarah Blyth posted video of the encounter on Twitter, there was a massive response from the community, according to Pivot’s homelessness lawyer Anna Cooper.
“There was an explosion of sympathy in regards to that seizure. There also was an explosion of comments in regards to two specific officers involved in that incident,” Cooper said.
“These two particular officers are apparently notorious in this community for being aggressive, belligerent, harassing people and making people feel small and unsafe.”