Vancouver Police have released more details on the man who urinated on the Komagata Maru memorial in Coal Harbour last month.
This follows Tuesday’s announcement by police officials that the man will not face charges as no criminal offence was made nor will he receive a bylaw violation ticket. The entire incident has angered many in the South Asian community who believed the act was a hate crime and were outraged by the police’s decision to not punish the individual.
During a press conference on Thursday, Vancouver Police Chief Constable Jim Chu explained the man is mentally ill and a drug addict who lives in the Downtown Eastside. The police believe the man requires medical treatment – not the justice system.
The man was located by police again yesterday and has since apologized for his actions.
Chief Chu was also joined by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, City Councillor Kerry Jang and leaders of the South Asian community.
Full text as spoken by Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu:
The Vancouver Police have always treated this abhorrent act on the Komagata Maru monument as a serious matter.
We know the importance of this monument to the community. I was personally honoured to speak at its unveiling.
When this matter was reported to us, we assigned our hate crime investigator to the case.
We identified the suspect and we were trying to further the investigation but we needed the main witness to provide to us a statement.
Thorough the help of Khalsa Diwan Society President Sohan Deol, this witness agreed to cooperate, and yesterday, he came forward for an interview.
Based on the interview results, we confirmed that our only option in the justice system was a bylaw ticket for urinating in public.
Yesterday afternoon, we located the suspect and he agreed to apologize for his actions.
I will read his signed apology: “I am sorry for what I did that day at the monument. I didn’t want to hurt anyone.”
When dealing with the suspect, it appeared even more the case that this person was afflicted with a serious mental disorder.
He is an illicit drug user and would fit into the category studied recently in the Downtown Eastside of a severely addicted mentally ill person.
This suspect needs the health system, not the justice system.
We believe that it is not in anyone’s interest to serve this suspect a bylaw ticket. We explained this to several South Asian community leaders last night and they supported this decision.