Woman bear sprays VPD officer during "violent" downtown arrest

Sep 16 2019, 1:22 pm

A VPD officer was assaulted with bear spray on Friday during what police described as a “violent” arrest in downtown Vancouver.

According to police, the incident took place just after 6:30 pm, when the officer observed the suspect – a woman wanted on a province-wide warrant –  in the 1200-block of Granville Street.

Police said the officer then attempted to take the woman into custody, “but the woman began to fight with the police officer.”

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The officer, who was working alone, then reportedly requested emergency back-up as “the combative female continued to fight and resist.”

During the incident, the woman produced a can of bear spray, and sprayed it into the eyes of the officer, says law enforcement. Still, the officer managed to hold onto the female until additional officers arrived and were able to help take the woman into custody.

“Officers are aware of the risks they may encounter while on-duty,” said VPD Sgt. Aaron Roed in a release. “However, it’s always very difficult to hear about an officer getting injured during the course of their duties.”

As a result of the incident, 36-year-old Vancouver resident Janine Renata Firth has been charged with carry/use/threaten to use a weapon in assaulting a peace officer, resist arrest, and possession of a weapon.

The officer was taken to hospital for treatment on Friday after the altercation, and released later that evening.