In the middle of the media feeding frenzy pillorying the RCMP members involved responding to the disturbance caused by Polish traveler Robert Dziekanski who died after being Tasered, Vancouver Police officers shot and killed Michael Vann Hubbard in a busy area of downtown Vancouver.
The initial reports were that he was a homeless man being checked as a possible suspect in a theft from a vehicle and in the process pulled a knife and was shot. The two officers involved were both female and the usual nonsense was inevitable from the media, the hand-wringers and the cop haters. Some of whom, I might add, are indistinguishable from the others.
But what was really amusing was the comments from some of the same folks blue with rage in their criticism of the RCMP for using a Taser on Dziekanski asking why the VPD officers involved in the shooting weren’t armed with Tasers so they didn’t have to shoot Vann Hubbard.
The mind boggles at the sheer hypocrisy.
But even though the shooting is under investigation the cop critics were in full voice. And they were happy to pile on the heels of the Braidwood inquiry into the death of Dziekanski. Police were being referred to as thugs and murderers.
On Friday members of the Vann Hubbard family filed a lawsuit claiming wrongful death on behalf of the VPD. Well, whatever. They have described their father as gentle and law abiding. Perhaps he was when they knew him, but when he was in Vancouver, he was homeless and violent as evidenced by his own behaviour.
He was being checked by two police officers while he was carrying a black backpack similar in description to one just stolen from a vehicle. According to a memo circulated by the Chief Constable of the VPD, Jim Chu, they engaged him in conversation for at least a minute that was “uneventful.”
Suddenly, Vann Hubbard pulled a utility knife, a boxcutter if you will, that was razor sharp and fully extended. He approached the police officers with it and they pulled their service weapons and retreated trying to keep a safe distance while containing the armed man. All the while they endeavoured to keep busy downtown pedestrian traffic out of harm’s way.
When at length, this “gentle man” charged at one of the officers after one minute and forty seconds of the standoff, he was shot. Once, to the centre of mass, just like the officer was trained to do. Vann Hubbard died as a result.
Those who were trying to nail the police to the wall, and I include the complicit media in this statement, tried to obfuscate the sequence of events to paint the police as killers and all manner of evil things. The reality is that they were doing their jobs in investigating a just occurred theft from auto and wound up being themselves placed in harm’s way. Those two members, and females both I might add, accepted their responsibility in spite of the danger, and while trying to focus on the danger they faced also did everything they could to keep the public out of harm’s way as the drama unfolded.
Never mind the nonsense from the family, from the so-called witness who said the police deleted a video from his phone while saying the police fired several shots, never mind all the nonsense. There are three independent videos of the shooting all of which corroborate the police version of events in the shooting.
Those two police officers did their jobs on that day and for that they deserve to be supported not chastised by the chattering class.
And for the family, I am sorry for your loss. But really, why was your loved one homeless in Vancouver? Why did he pull a utility knife one minute after being engaged by the police? And finally, in the face of warnings to drop the knife, why did he charge at one officer? Waste your time, money and energy in a lawsuit if you want, but the two members of the VPD did their job on that fateful day. And they carry a distinct sadness as a result.
Chief Constable Jim Chu did a service to the police officers of VPD with his memo. Hopefully the public airing of that memo will shut up those drowning in their ignorance when they are so quick to criticize those who protect the rest of us.
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