BRITISH COLUMBIA

Ismail Bhabha, Police Officer Convicted Of Assault, Defended By Vancouver Chief

08/05/2015 09:47 EDT | Updated 08/05/2016 05:59 EDT
Vancouver police Chief Adam Palmer says he supports the officer who was convicted of assault and defended the decision to keep him on as a patrol officer

Palmer said Const. Ismail Bhabha — who was convicted Tuesday for assaulting a cyclist in 2013 — should be judged on the totality of his record. 

"He's a good police officer and he's highly regarded by his co-workers and a decorated officer. And, just recently, he saved somebody's life," Palmer said on CKNW

Palmer was referring to a 10-hour armed stand-off in the lobby of the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel with a deranged, suicidal man that ended with officers using a stun grenade and Taser to take him into custody. 

About a year later, Bhabha was commended for his work that day, along with 70 other officers who received a Chief Constable Unit Citation for defusing the tense situation.

Bhabha joined the Vancouver police in 2008 after emigrating from London.

Before he left Britain, he received an award of excellence from the British Transport Police Federation for coming to the rescue of a woman and her daughter who were being harassed by a mentally ill man at King's Cross station in London in 2007. 

He was off-duty at the time, but Bhabha confronted the assailant. During the ensuing struggle he was bitten in the cheek and required surgery to repair the wound.

Since word of Bhabha's conviction in the Vancouver incident, there's been a deluge of calls on social media for him to be fired. 

Still, Palmer defended the police officer.

"​People may make a mistake on a certain day, but I don't think they should be judged for their entire career on just one thing," said Palmer. 

"We're not talking about a situation of an officer who has been in trouble before. This is a one-off thing and I look at the totality of the circumstances and I support this officer."

A police investigation into the case involving the cyclist has been reopened and Bhabha is scheduled to be sentenced in November. 

Legal experts say most likely he'll get a discharge so he won't have a criminal record. 

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