Calgarian among first to face riot charges
B.C. announces independent investigation
Twomen,includingaCalgarian, have been charged in relation to a stabbing that took place during the June 15 Stanley Cup riot, Vancouver Police announced Monday. Charges have been recommended against another six people, ranging from mischief and participation in a riot to assaulting a police officer. None of the suspects have previous criminal histories.
Also on Monday, Premier Christy Clark announced that an independent panel will investigate the riot. It is to report to the province by Aug. 31 and its findings will be made public.
Among other things, the panel will begin by looking at the Stanley Cup riot of 1994, the availability of liquor to the thousands that had gathered in the streets to watch the final game and what needs to be done to avoid a repetition of riots at future public events.
“Shameful acts like those seen around the world demand a tough, independent and critical eye — and that’s exactly what we expect this review to deliver,”said Solicitor General Shirley Bond in a statement. “It must look back, given the events 17 years before and the many reviews that followed. And it must look forward, to ensure Vancouver reclaims its place on the world stage as a vibrant, safe city in which to celebrate, no matter the nature of the event or the size of the crowd.”
Burnaby,B.C.,residentEdgarRicardo Garcia, 20, has been charged with aggravated assault after two men were stabbed. And Calgary resident Joshua Lyle Evans, 27, has been charged with possessing a weapon dangerous to the public peace in the same incident.
Among the others expected to go to court for their riot conduct are a young man from Ladner, B.C., accused of vandalizing a pickup truck, a 19-year-old accused of looting a purse from the Bay and a 17-yearold, accused in trying to set a police car ablaze.
The newly established Integrated Riot Investigation Team is working its way through thousands of photographs and video images from the riot to identify those who committed criminal acts.
Vancouver Police are urging those who were caught in the act to come forward and turn themselves in.
“If you come in voluntarily you can do so discreetly and at a time that is convenient for you,” police chief Jim Chu said Monday. “If you wait until we find you — and we will find you — we will arrest you in a public manner suitable to the public crimes you have committed.”
Chu said the investigation has confirmed what police initially said — that anarchists and criminals started the trouble, while others without criminal histories soon joined in.
“Based on the best information we had the following morning, we stated that the instigators among the mob were ‘criminals, anarchists and thugs who came to town bent on destruction and mayhem’ regardless of the outcome of the game,” Chu said.
“While we are still standing by that observation about the instigators, we are learning that most of the people that joined in the riot and that have now been charged represent a wider spectrum of young people, many of whom do not have criminal records.”
RCMP Asst. Commissioner Craig Callens said the federal force is eager to help out with the riot probe.
By Monday morning, 117 people had been arrested — mostly the night of the riot for breach of the peace.
So far about a dozen people have turnedthemselvesintotheVancouver police and three to other police agencies, Chu said.