A man who claimed he was wrongly arrested by West Vancouver police has reached an out-of-court settlement of his lawsuit against the municipality.

Chief Const. Peter Lepine said in a release yesterday the department is committed to bias-free policing.

“We have listened, we have learned and we will use this lesson as an opportunity to move forward, better prepared to serve our community.”

North Shore resident Donald Sipes received what police described as “fair compensation” as part of the settlement.

Sipes was arrested in January 2006 by officers investigating an attempted fraud at a nearby mall by a suspect described as having short spiky hair. Sipes, who had long curly hair at the time, was stopped and placed in handcuffs when he attempted to leave.

He allegedly had had a number of previous negative interactions with one of the officers involved, according to a release from the Pivot Legal Society, and he claims to have been stopped by police on 30 previous occasions without reason.

“This is my hometown, and every time I visit I’m afraid I’m going to be the target of further harassment and intimidation,” Sipes said in September when he won a civil suit against West Vancouver police. “I just hope this case helps prevent this from happening to others.”

Laura Track, a lawyer with Pivot, said the decision shows that police should not investigate themselves and that using the courts to hold officers accountable is an effective strategy.