Two Vancouver police officers accused of abusing their authority when they roughed up a man in a case of mistaken identity have been cleared of wrongdoing by a Delta Police investigation.
Yao Wei Wu, who speaks scant English, suffered severe facial injuries after two plainclothes officers allegedly knocked on his door in the middle of the night and threw him to the ground in response to a domestic dispute call in January.
The officers, who had gone to the wrong address, said Wu resisted arrest and assaulted them – a claim Wu’s lawyer Cameron Ward calls “extraordinary.”
“This case shows again why we shouldn’t allow police to investigate police,” he said, adding this underscores the need for an independent body to investigate police incidents.
Delta Police Chief Const. Cessford said the officers acted reasonably given their belief that Wu was the suspect in a domestic assault call.
“Mr. Wu and the constables viewed the confrontation from contrasting but equally valid perspectives,” Cessford said.
“Mr. Wu reacted to the officers by aggressively trying to protect his home, family and himself, while the officers believed that they were faced with the domestic violence suspect. These factors contributed to a perfect storm of events that led to the unfortunate injury to Mr. Wu.”
Vancouver Police reiterated their apology to Wu and his family.
“Our mission that night was to save a mother and child who were in danger (and) our officers … acted in good faith to safeguard those they believed were in peril,” the department said in a release.
“Officers … make difficult split-second decisions in dynamic and stressful situations. If an officer failed to take actions that would prevent further harm to a victim of violence, they could be considered neglectful in their duties.”
Wu has a pending civil case.