The VicPD officer who was seen kicking a man on the ground in a YouTube video from last spring will not be charged criminally for his actions.
A criminal investigation by Vancouver Police Department determined the officer used necessary force to subdue the suspect. In a statement released Friday, the Criminal Justice Branch said assault charges will not be applied against the officer, a supervisor with the Late Night Task Force.
“The officer did nothing wrong,” said VicPD Chief Jamie Graham. “The use of force is always a contentious issue, especially when viewed through a 57-second picture (of the incident).”
The incident happened in the early hours of March 21, 2010, outside the Social Club on Store Street. When police arrived, a fight had broken out between eight people. One man had been assaulted – he was lying unconscious on the sidewalk and another man was kicking him in the head.
The YouTube video captures the after effects, as police cleaned up the situation and arrested suspects. It shows the supervising officer, Const. Chris Bowser, kicking 19-year-old Tyler Archer and 23-year-old Harpinder Kang while officers try to cuff them.
The statement by the Criminal Justice Branch says, “There is evidence to establish that (Bowser) had reasonable grounds to conclude that his fellow officers were lawfully arresting (the suspect). There is also evidence to establish that the officer’s use of force in assisting them was not excessive.”
Victoria police said from the start the video gives no context to the situation, which lasted for about 25 minutes in total.
Graham added the principle of innocent until proven guilty was not applied to Bowser by the public.
He called Bowser an “outstanding officer” and said he has returned to his regular duties.
Reviews of the incident don’t end there, though. Calgary Police Service is conducting a Police Act investigation into the case and the deputy chief of New Westminster Police Service will be the discipline authority against Bowser if Calgary finds any wrongdoing.
Kang, with prosecutor Richard Neary, has also filed a civil lawsuit against Bowser.
The YouTube video has been flagged and is only accessible to registered users.