Vick Supramaniam case: The least the authorities can do is pay for innocent bystander’s treatment

Vick Supramaniam in hospital in 2016.
Photos courtesy Global BC

ON September 19, 2016, two innocent members of the public, including a South Asian, Vick Supramaniam, were injured when Vancouver police were attempting to arrest suspects in New Westminster in connection with a kidnapping and two homicides at a house on Dieppe Place, near Grandview Highway and Boundary Road, two days earlier.

During the police operation, the suspects’ vehicle crashed into Supramaniam’s vehicle. The hapless individual told Global BC at the time in his hospital room that he had to get out of his vehicle because he feared it could have caught fire when he saw smoke emanating from the other vehicle.

When he got out of his vehicle and took shelter behind the bench at the bus stop, the police dog was suddenly all over him. The dog mauled him savagely, ripping off part of his left ear. The dog dragged him and a terrified Supramaniam saw blood all over him. He said he kept telling the police that he had nothing to do with the people they were after, but they didn’t listen to him. “I was so scared and I thought I was just going to die,” he said.

Supramaniam’s left ear that was partially ripped off by the police dog.

Supramaniam at the time told Global BC that he was worried about his future as he was studying to be a pilot. He wondered if his ear injury would affect his flying operations as he had to wear a headset.

He told Global BC reporter Rumina Daya that he understands that the scene was chaotic, however what happened to him was an abuse of police power. He called it brutality.

Vancouver Police seemed slow and reluctant to apologize, but when the media confronted them, Acting Sgt. Brian Montague apologized and said the police were reaching out to the family to see if they could do anything to help them.

On Tuesday (August 31), the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. that investigated this event, announced: “Based on a review of all of the evidence collected during the course of the investigation and the relevant law, the CCD [Chief Civilian Director] has found the actions of the police were justified, and thus does not consider that any police officer has committed an offence under any enactment. Therefore the matter will not be referred to Crown Counsel for consideration of charges.”

The IIO BC added: “Due to the concurrent investigation by police and the associated trial, the IIO will not be issuing its usual public report in this case, but will do so at the conclusion of that matter.”

CCD Ron MacDonald said: “We are issuing this statement to satisfy the public that the IIO has conducted a thorough and independent review of this investigation.”

“As the matter is before the courts, the IIO will not comment on the details of the case or the evidence considered in reaching this decision,” said the press release.

That has brought no comfort to Supramaniam, who told Global BC that he believes the use of force was not justified.

He asked: “What does it take for them to find that the dog handler is at fault? Does somebody have to die?”

The VOICE thinks that the least Vancouver Police or the City of Vancouver – or even the Province – can do is to pay for his ongoing treatment.