BRITISH COLUMBIA

Hearing adjourned against Vancouver constable accused of shoving disabled woman

10/05/2012 06:34 EDT | Updated 12/05/2012 05:12 EST
VANCOUVER - A Vancouver constable accused of shoving a disabled woman to the ground won't get a disciplinary hearing until later this month.

An official with B.C.'s Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner said Friday the hearing was adjourned this week because of lawyers' scheduling conflicts, but it must take place in the next 20 business days.

"I wouldn't say it's common, but sometimes there are conflicts when you have a number of counsel involved," said Rollie Woods, deputy police complaint commissioner, of the adjournments.

"If there's extraordinary circumstances where it's in the public interest to give an extension, we have the ability to do that, the commissioner has the ability to do that, but he doesn't do it ... there has to be some extraordinary reasons."

The adjournment was granted Thursday, one day before members of an organization known as Downtown Eastside Cop Watch rallied at the Vancouver Police Department's headquarters and at city hall to call for the dismissal of Const. Taylor Robinson from the force.

Woods said his office was not responsible for holding Thursday's disciplinary hearing, a task that was to be held by the department and scheduled for Vancouver.

No one from the police department would comment on the matter.

No date has yet been set yet for a new hearing, Woods added, and the police complaint commissioner must confirm any disciplinary decision made by the department.

The incident between Robinson and Sandy Davidsen, who suffers from cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis, happened about two years ago on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

The incident was caught on camera and shows Davidsen trying to get past three officers before being shoved to the ground by Robinson. The constable and two other officers then walk by her.

Following the incident, an investigation was held by New Westminster police whose officers concluded Robinson abused his authority and neglected his duty.

He was handed a one-day suspension and ordered to undergo further training on force options and appropriate response.

But the complaint office ruled the discipline did not address the seriousness of Robinson's misconduct.

Jenn Allan of Downtown Eastside Cop Watch called the adjournment "stall tactics."

She said her organization would like to see Robinson fired, although that won't likely happen.

The process, she added, shows there's a two-tier system when it comes to justice handed out to police and civilians.

"If I ever assaulted a police officer, I'd get six months in jail," she said. "Apparently, if you're a police officer and you push a disabled woman down, your punishment is one day suspension ... and take a course."