Updates on the Arrests

Posted by: | April 6, 2008 | 10 Comments

Edit/Update: Here are some more details from the CBC website, a video and an eyewitness account from Blake Frederick, elected Senator and student. We will write a more thorough analysis as more details become available.

Update 2: A judge will determine around 1pm today (Saturday April 5) at the DTES Criminal Court whether the five or more arrested students will be criminally charged or if they will be released. More updates to come.

Update 3: Youtube clip (anonymously submitted), and another Youtube clip of the bonfire and VP External Stef Ratjen being detained . Here you can keep yourself updated on the rest of the media’s coverage.

Update 4: Another Youtube clip of the students being arrested. There is an individual on a bicycle who seems to have been plugged from the crowd and arrested. What did he do to be arrested?


10 Comments so far

  1. Lucas Guimaraes Pinheiro on April 6, 2008 7:56 am


    Yes. That is exactly what it was. The guy on the bike had nothing to do whith the protest. However, alot of people who went under the custody of brutal police officers were not initially involved with the protest, Icarus being the chief example: a peaceful protester armed with nothing but innocence.

    Many seem to have lost focus on what this protest was about. At the latter moments, it evolved into a demonstration against police brutality which was completely arbitray and unnecessary. There was no need for any of our fellow students to be arrested.

    You are misguided if you believe the incident of April 4th was nothing other than a perfect example of police brutality.


  2. Ashley on April 6, 2008 8:50 am

    Well slap me on the rump and call me misguided.

  3. Stephen McCarthy on April 6, 2008 7:05 pm


    Better quality video of the initial incident.

  4. Matthew Hall on April 6, 2008 8:46 pm

    After seeing that, I think the police should get at least 50% of the blame.

    Why arrest Stefanie? Really? They had a right to do so, yes, but was that really pragmatic policing? Was it likely to defuse tensions in what was until that point a very minor incident? The fire was out. If they’d just chalked the situation down to youthful student enthusiasm and left, none of this would have happened.

    Neither side stepped back from this at the point that they should have done.

  5. Dave P. on April 6, 2008 10:12 pm

    I just want to comment that this whole incident is really a tragedy for the AMS and students in general. With the prior executive of the AMS, the University and the BoG had a group of students who were respected and willing to negotiate on behalf of students. As a result, we had significant movement away from a non-consultive development of campus to one in which students were consulted. With the passing of the Sub Renew, the University would deal with the AMS as co-partners in developing U square.

    Having not only protests that get out of hand, but AMS Execs involved in these protests and getting arrested sends a horrible signal to the University. It says that students are nothing more than spoiled children who care for little more than their own egos.

    Building bonfires on campus is dangerous and illegal. Case closed. The fire department is not composed of fascists who only want to spoil your fun, kiddies, they’re charged with keeping all of us safe. When they tell you they are going to douse your fire, you let them.

    The police, likewise, are charged with keeping the peace. If you chant “fuck the pigs” and block access to their vehicles, you stand a chance of getting arrested. Crying “police brutality” after you are subdued and taken away is idiotic. They told you to disperse and you didn’t. How stupid can you be?

  6. Anonymous on April 6, 2008 10:14 pm

    after watching all of the youtube videos i would like to make a number of observations which each clip fails to communicate:

    1.) when the first arrests took place, ubc patrol and police used violence against students. I remember seeing one student punched in the stomach and the two arrested students thrown on the ground as well as the knoll

    2.) when stef was handcuffed with her face in the puddle the police did not allow her to get up, or allow her to move out of the puddle.

    3.) after stef was released two students, (i think one of them was steven klein) were trying to negotiate the release of the other student. i heard them asking to de-escalate the issue by speaking to the commanding officer … this is very important since the RCMP report states that the ‘students’ were ‘combative’ yet the actions of the negotiators as well as the people who were surrounding the car were not ‘combative at all during this time but were civil and respectful

    4.) when the commanding officer arrived the two students pleaded with the commanding officer for their release but it appeared that the officer did not want to negotiate with the students as they already had zap-straps in their hands and approaching the crowd.
    this again is important since stef was released an hour before through negotiations with one of the officers.

    5.) also, the clip of the second phase of arrests do not show the kick of one of the police officers to the back (or back of the head) of one of the students when the officer was trying to pry away one student away from another

    6.) there was another incident where a student was grabbed from the crowd and thrown to the ground

    7.) there were also claims made by students that a taser was drawn on a student who was lying passively on the ground

    8.) and as lucas pinheiro states above, some of the arrests were completly arbitrary… students were being grabbed from the crowd, handcuffed and led to the paddy wagon


  7. Alison Brown on April 6, 2008 10:51 pm

    “it appeared that the officer did not want to negotiate with the students”

    I absolutely do not understand all this talk of negotiating. Since when are police suppose to negotiate with bystanders regarding arrests? They are granted the authority to make a judgment regarding arrests. If you think their judgment was wrong that’s what official complaints and the courts are for. Rest assured when the police arrest someone unjustly, legitimate channels vindicate the individual. Defense lawyers know their stuff. If any police were so polite to indulge bystanders in “negotiations” then they deserve a pat on the back. They certainly weren’t obligated to do so.

    So lets not distract from what should be the main issue. Did the police use unreasonable force and what evidence do we have of that?

    I also love that people are so upset about the police threatening to use tasers and such. The point from that should be that they didn’t end up using them. Pointing this out just vindicates the police further.

    As far as students being grabbed from the crowd, they were warned to move back time and time again.

    I’m really sick of hearing about students just experiencing discomfort. That’s not brutality. Cluttering the issue with those pointless complains is so counterproductive.

  8. Commodore Cuddles on April 6, 2008 11:04 pm

    Two questions about Friday I haven’t heard answered yet:

    1) were there any injuries? For all the talk about police brutality I haven’t heard anyone claim so much as a scratch. From the video I saw the police were being downright cuddly.

    2) is anyone filing a formal complaint against the RCMP? Western democracies are fun! We have court systems that serve as a check on the police! Does anyone plan on doing this? You can even file a complaint online!

  9. Mike Thicke on April 7, 2008 12:56 am

    dave p: What a massive distortion of history. The BoG would have passed their “non-consultative” version of University Square if we (Nate, Tristan, Margaret, Stef, etc) had not spent the weeks before the BoG meeting rushing around collecting signatures. Even council’s motion demanding a halt to the process had to come at our prompting. All of the gains students have made are 100% the result of work done by the people you are denouncing.

  10. Anonymous on April 7, 2008 8:39 pm

    This may be one of the dumbest things to happen at UBC in a long time. What is great about this whole issue is that both the protesters and the RCMP are to blame.

    Who on earth decided to start a large uncontrolled bonfire in the middle of campus? And why wouldn’t they let the VFD douse the damn thing? I find it hard to sympathize with this group who were protesting to “save the fire”.

    On the other hand…

    This is just another example of the RCMP and the police on campus escalating tensions and dealing with students in an overly aggressive and generally unprofessional manner. The cops at UBC have a history of failing to deal appropriately with crowd control and resorting to violence and arrest too hastily. It is not unfair to say they were provoked but it is there fault that this silly protest turned into an incident which has received national media coverage.

    If you’ve been around campus this year or last you have no doubt seen other cases of police failing to appropriately deal with rowdy students. Pictures printed in the Ubyssey this year also speak to the unprofessionalism of the RCMP at UBC.

    Hopefully this mess will open two dialogues on campus.

    1. Who are the SDS, what are they really trying to achieve at UBC, and do they really speak for the majority of students?


    2. Are the RCMP acting appropriately and professionally on campus? Perhaps more attentions should be paid to dispersing rowdy crowds without resorting to arrest and violence. Is there a social contract that gives university students a little more leeway when it comes to there actions on campus?

    As a graduating UBC student I can only say that this is the dumbest incident I have seen in my 5 years!

    -Victor Lee

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