VANCOUVER - B.C.'s police complaint commissioner has rejected the proposed punishment for a Vancouver officer who was caught on video as he pushed a disabled woman to the sidewalk.
Stan Lowe has written letters to Const. Taylor Robinson and Sandy Davidsen, the woman who was pushed, saying he believes the proposed penalty does not reflect the severity of the misconduct.
A disciplinary conference held in Vancouver earlier this month ruled Robinson should be docked one day's pay and take special training on available force options.
But Lowe ordered the matter to a formal disciplinary hearing.
That prompted Davidsen's lawyer, Scott Bernstein, to request that a retired judge, rather than another police officer, recommend an appropriate punishment.
"It's important to know the officer has never acknowledged really any wrongdoing in shoving Ms. Davidsen and has continually held to the unbelievable position that she was grabbing for his gun," Bernstein said Tuesday.
"The video shows her hands nowhere near his gun," he said of the June 2010 incident. "It really is unbelievable he can continue holding to this position, but that's what he's doing."
Davidsen, who was 26 at the time, suffers from multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.
In the video, Robinson is seen shoving Davidsen to the ground as he and two other officers passed her on the street in the Downtown Eastside.
An investigation by the New Westminster Police determined that allegations of abuse of authority and neglect of duty against Robinson could be substantiated.
In a written statement Tuesday, Davidsen said the officer sent her a letter but didn't apologize for the incident.
"The letter he sent was just a justification for pushing me and he didn't even take the time to sign it," she wrote.
Davidsen has filed a human rights complaint and is also suing the Vancouver Police Department for $25,000.
The order for a disciplinary proceeding is the latest since legislative changes were made in 2010 to the complaint commissioner's office, giving it more money and authority.
Spokesman Rollie Woods said that since then, the office has ordered "seven or eight" disciplinary hearings.
He said previous commissioners couldn't hold such proceedings as often before 2010 because of budget constraints and lack of authority.
"These things are expensive and they were limited sometimes by budget and I think they only took the most egregious matters and would order a public hearing," Woods said. "It's a difficult, lengthy process."
He said that after a disciplinary hearing on Oct. 5, Vancouver Police will have to administer another punishment, adding that if the complaint commissioner's office isn't happy with that decision a public hearing will be held into the matter.
Vancouver Police have not issued any comment on the case "out of respect for the process."
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