A Vancouver police sergeant smashed a motorist’s window before physically removing the driver from his car, a freshly shared video shows, prompting legal experts to question the limits of police behavior in such situations.
The video shows a Vancouver police officer standing next to a vehicle that has been pulled over, repeatedly demanding the driver, who identifies himself as Bodhi Sattva on YouTube, to “open the door.”
“Sir, why have you pulled me over?” the driver replies, refusing to comply with the officer’s order.
“I’m not playing this game,” the officer warns. “I’m gonna break the window now in two seconds.”
Before proceeding to smash the window and physically remove the driver, the officer can be heard telling his colleague that he can smell marijuana smoke coming from the vehicle.
The motorist claims he was physically assaulted and traumatized by the experience, and was not found to be under the influence of any drugs at the time.
The incident occurred in November and the video was leaked to the public on the weekend.
According to the Vancouver Police Department, the driver was charged with “possession of a controlled substance, possession for the purposes of trafficking and obstructing a police officer,” CBC News reported.
Although not permitted to discuss the case, which is still before the courts, the police told the Vancouver news affiliate that drivers should just cooperate with the police under such circumstances.
However, a lawyer from British Columbia, a specialist in handling cases of impaired driving, says the officer violated the motorist’s rights by failing – at least in the video – to explain to the motorist why he was pulled over.
“You can’t blame this individual for it. He’s being polite and cooperative. You can blame the police for their attitude,” Paul Doroshenko told CBC. “There is no justification for this type of behavior.”
Doroshenko said motorists are under no obligation to open their doors when asked by police. However, they are required to hand over their driver’s license through a cracked window.
“Ultimately what they do is, in my view, an unlawful arrest, smashing his window, destroying his property and it looks like a violent arrest.”