Police investigate the scene at Scott Road SkyTrain after Constable Josh Harms of the Metro Vancouver Transit Police was shot on Jan. 30. (Photo: Shane Mackichan)

Police deny accusations in lawsuit filed in wake of Surrey cop-shooting suspect

Jason Victor Hernandez suing VPD after police mistook him for suspect in shooting of Transit cop in Surrey

The Vancouver Police are denying a Vancouver man’s claims he was the victim of an assault and wrongful arrest when police were hunting for Daon Gordon Glasgow, the man suspected of shooting a Transit Police constable at Surrey’s Scott Road SkyTrain station.

Jason Victor Hernandez filed his notice of civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on July 30 against the Vancouver Police Department, the City of Vancouver and “John Does” #1-6, alleging he “was the victim of an assault and wrongful arrest committed by currently unidentified members of the Vancouver Police Department in the course of their investigation into an offence which Mr. Hernandez had not committed, and was not suspected of committing.”

His lawsuit claims that despite bearing “almost no resemblance” to Glasgow, Hernandez was detained for over five hours “while VPD members refused to check his identification or accept his explanation that he was not the person they were seeking.”

The notice of civil claim states he was told to surrender and “did not resist in any fashion beyond expressing his belief that the police were targeting the wrong individual.” His lawsuit claims that despite his compliance Hernandez was “repeatedly struck by VPD officers during the course of his wrongful arrest, and sustained various injuries including, but not limited to, abrasions and bruising to his face and body, several broken ribs, and a concussion.”

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The many faces of Surrey SkyTrain shooting suspect Daon Gordon Glasgow. Surrey RCMP said at the time of the shooting, Glasgow was described as dark skinned with a black stubble mustache, however, police added Glasgow is “known to quickly alter his appearance.” (Surrey RCMP handout)

In the VPD’s response, filed in court Sept. 3 by City of Vancouver’s lawyer Kevin Nakanishi, states that the “handcuffing officer” tested and verified the “proper fit of the handcuffs by placing his finger between the cuffs and the plaintiff’s wrists.”

“Once the Plaintiff’s identity had been confirmed, he was released from handcuffs and returned to a standing position,” The VPD’s response reads. “One or more of the Lead Constables explained to the Plaintiff that he was free to go, the reasons for why he had been stopped by police in the way that he had, and offered to answer any questions. The Plaintiff confirmed to the Lead Constables that he understood and that he had no further questions for the police.”

The VPD denies that police used force on Hernandez as alleged, denies he was held for five hours “as alleged or at all,” and claims Hernandez was “free to go” within 15 minutes after the lead investigator arrived on scene.

Daon Gordon Glasgow, 35, of Vancouver is charged with attempted murder and weapons offences in the Jan. 30 shooting of Transit Police Constable Josh Harms, 27, at Surrey’s Scott Road SkyTrain Station. Glasgow was arrested at a house in Burnaby a few days after an extensive manhunt and had been on mandatory release from prison on a Surrey manslaughter conviction at the time the trigger was pulled in the SkyTrain station shooting.

Harms was twice shot in the arm at the Surrey SkyTrain station while in the line of duty. Glasgow is expected to make his next appearance in Surrey provincial court on Sept. 27.

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Constable Josh Harms. (Photo: Metro Vancouver Transit Police)

Hernandez’ lawsuit claims that on Feb. 1 he was exiting a Real Canadian Superstore in Burnaby “when he was confronted by a group of VPD officers which included the John Does” and “some of these officers had their firearms drawn and aimed at Mr. Hernandez.”

Hernandez’ lawsuit states that after his arrest he was handcuffed, put into a VPD vehicle and told he was suspected of being Glasgow. “Upon hearing this, Mr. Hernandez immediately protested his innocence and offered to provide identification that would show conclusively that he was not Mr. Glasgow.”

“It was not until his fingerprints were processed and found not to match those of Mr. Glasgow that he was released,” according to his notice of civil claim. “The detention of Mr. Hernandez during this time was unlawful, and caused Mr. Hernandez prolonged emotional distress.”

Hernandez is being represented by Matthew J. Longay, of Vancouver law firm Ferguson Allingham. None of the claims have been proven or disproven in a court of law.

The notice of claim alleges that after Hernandez was released VPD members apologized “for their mistreatment of him” and offered to provide him with temporary accommodation in a hotel as he missed an appointment to move into a new place due to the arrest.

“However, despite ongoing assurances to Mr. Hernandez, the VPD failed to follow-through with their offer for accommodations and Mr. Hernandez was forced to spend a night in the hotel lobby awaiting reservations which never arrived,” the lawsuit alleges. “This callous treatment heightened Mr. Hernandez’ distress with the whole series of events.”

The plaintiff is seeking relief for general damages, damages for pain and suffering arising from his various injuries physical, mental or emotional, special damages, compensation for medical expenses, loss of employment opportunity and short-term housing, as well as “exemplary damages to punish the defendants for their high-handed treatment of Mr. Hernandez, and to deter the defendants from further inappropriate conduct.”

The VPD, in its response, opposes the “granting of the relief” sought by Hernandez and maintains that his arrest was lawful pursuant to Section 495 of the Criminal Code.

READ ALSO FOCUS: ‘They should not be out on the street,’ Surrey crimefighter says of violent offenders

READ ALSO: Shot Transit cop thanks God his injuries not worse



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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