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Police beat me as I slept, cook claims


VPD say man mistaken for thief got hurt when he 'struggled' during arrest



Adrienne Tanner

The Province


Friday, April 25, 2003


The night he was beaten, Todd Baiden left an actors' workshop and popped into work at Le Petit Cafe to get an early start on the next day's pasta sauce.

He minced some garlic and, feeling sleepy, stretched out on the counter for a snooze.

He says he awoke to a group of men punching him in the midsection -- hard, sharp blows that doubled him over in pain.

They yanked him off the counter, turning him face-down. "I caught a flash of a uniform as I was being flipped in the air, but I still didn't know who they were," Baiden says.

For the first time since his March 7, 2002, encounter with six police officers, the 31-year-old cook spoke publicly about his injuries and his lawsuit against the Vancouver police.

The story spills out slowly.

Baiden pauses often to compose himself, his blue eyes on the edge of tears.

Physical injuries aside, the incident which left him with a lacerated spleen, broken nose, gashed head and multiple bruises has had a lasting emotional effect.

He has moved back in with his parents in Alberta and sees a therapist for post-traumatic stress disorder.

"It's not easy to get beat up by people who are supposed to be protecting you," says Baiden, who has no criminal record.

Baiden says he stopped at the restaurant that night to escape the cold. Once there, he decided to start the day's preparations and stay the night.

According to court documents, police were called by a bread delivery man who mistook Baiden for a thief when he saw him sleeping on the counter.

Baiden says he did not hear the six officers enter the building.

"The first thing I heard was people yelling, 'Hey buddy, hey buddy. Get up.' "

And then the thrashing was on, he says. Baiden estimates he was punched seven or eight times in the stomach.

"Then they bounced my head on the floor -- I'd say at least five or six. That's how my nose was broken."

Not once did he lash out or struggle, he insists.

It was not until the beating was over that police began to ask questions, he says.

As Baiden answered, one officer tended to the gash in his head as another phoned an ambulance. But Baiden was too fuzzy-headed and terrified to leave with the ambulance attendants.

"I was afraid that these guys were all working in cahoots. That they would take me on some kind of moonlight tour and if I got in I would not get out," Baiden says. "I was afraid I was going to get killed."

Vancouver police spokeswoman Const. Anne Drennan would not comment on the case as it is before the courts.

But according to court documents, police have a different account of events.

In a letter summing up the internal investigation, then-chief const. Terry Blythe said the six officers who attended the call could not verbally rouse Baiden.

"Despite verbal commands and physical restraint by the police members the male continued to struggle. In order to better control the male the police members took him to the floor where they were able to place him in handcuffs," Blythe wrote.

Blythe says Baiden was accidentally dropped when "one police member lost his grip on the male's arm." The only noticeable injury was a head laceration, he wrote.

Blythe also said the delivery man witnessed the "struggle" and "did not see any punches or similar force used by the police members."

That has Baiden's lawyer, Gary Lauk, claiming "whitewash."

Initial interviews with the delivery man indicate he was not in the room when the police first confronted Baiden and could not have seen the initial assault, Lauk says.

Police statements also indicate the kitchen lights were off throughout the encounter. The delivery man stated the lights were on when he entered, Lauk adds.

The internal investigation concluded the five officers had done nothing wrong.

Lauk says the general police attitude toward excessive use of force is reprehensible. "The middle management of the police in this city set the moral tone. They're responsible and they can't claim this is an aberration."

Since early this year, the Vancouver police have been dogged by excessive-use-of-force complaints. Six officers are currently charged with assault with a weapon against three suspected drug dealers.

Lauk says the system breaks down when officers like those involved in the Baiden case are not disciplined. "The message to police is: 'It must be OK.' "

So far, Lauk has had no offer from the city or Vancouver police to settle Baiden's lawsuit.

The case is bogged down in preliminary motions demanding that police release the disciplinary records of all the officers involved, Lauk says.

"We're trying to obtain documents from the City of Vancouver and there's been a reluctance to provide them."

The lawyer acting for police says the information is irrelevant.

In a letter on the court file, Lauk's disclosure application is dismissed as a "fishing expedition."

"The application appears to be seeking similar-fact evidence. This is not a case for which similar-fact evidence can in any way be relevant."


No trial date has been set.




©_Copyright 2003_The Province





they are also being sued right now for smashing out a 55 year old engineer's teeth with a baton while he was leaving the canceled GnR show that turned into a riot. Not to mention the ever growing number of "undesirables" who mysteriously wind up out in the fucking bush with no wallet after encountering police dowtown. well shit, at least they dont racially profile folks like in toronto :D

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Originally posted by dojafx

from my experience

Minneapolis/St. Paul


In Minneapolis...


My buddy got punched in the face by a cop for saying, "George Bush is a cocksucker." It was afterbar and we were all walking down the street with the group, heading back to the car. Wasn't in the cops face or anything I don't even think he was looking at the cop when he said it. After the pig punches him in the face, cuffs him, and puts him in the cop car he tells my friend, "If you call George Bush a cocksucker, you're calling me a cocksucker." Made him wait in the backseat for a while then let him go after giving him a disorderly conduct citation for swearing in public.

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Love them "Mean Cop" stories


I was in the Marine Reserves here in Houston with several Houston cops. Imagine this scene. I spend eight years as a very active, very public anarchist in a town like Houston (which at that time had very few anarchists), then had a change of opinion and joined the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps sends me to the U.S. Army Chemical and Ordnance School for twelve weeks, at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, in Maryland. I graduate with honors, and get assigned to the Marine Reserve unit in Houston, 1st Battalion/ 23rd Marines (Marine battalions are known by these numbers, like "One-Twentythree", written 1/23.) The "23rd Marines" is slang for "23rd Marine Regiment.")


My very first Reserve drill, I show up in uniform, spit-shined boots and a "official" Marine haircut, and they send me to the Armory to work. When I get there there are THREE Houston cops assigned to work with me, all three of which have just decided to re-enlist in the Reserves that month.


Hel-LO. Pretty obvious, even for the Naval Investigative Service (NIS.)


They kind of treated me like a pariah for a couple of hours, and then things started to lighten up. I got assigned my pistol (all Marine armorers are armed during working hours) and so here I am, locked in a Marine Corps armory with three irritable Houston cops, a Marine lifer, and 600 M-16A1 rifles, all of us armed with loaded .45 pistols.


They didn't trust me for shit.


After a while though we started making friends, and shared some boot camp stories (all boot camp stories are basically the same--every Marine recruit experiences exactly the same thing, over and over and over) and they started telling humourous anecdotes from work. Cops have a shitty life, guys, worse than firefighters, even. They see so much bad shit that they start making jokes about it.


One of the funniest stories was about a big-shot Houston attorney who went to a strip club, got drunk, and then made a scene because he thought that the stripper who was giving him a lap dance had taken some of his money. The cops arrived, and he starts threatening them with the fact that he is a lawyer. They said, "Fine, let's step outside and discuss it." As soon as he sets foot on the pavement, they arrest him for public intoxication (it's not illegal to be drunk in a bar.) He starts giving them a hassle about putting on the handcuffs. Bam, "Drunk and disorderly." He starts screaming "You can both SUCK MY DICK FOR A DOLLAR, YOU FAGGOT BITCHES!"

They charged him with "soliciting sodomy in a public place." TWO COUNTS.


Now that's funny.

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This is corrupt to me


My buddy got pulled over and he had three and a half ounces of weed in his car, by the time he got to court the amount of weed had dropped down to 55.49 grams. I don't know about what you think, but there is only one reason for a descrepancy that big and that is: the cops saw that he had good sh*t and decided to take some to chief for themselves.

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i heard about the "can man" getting run over in kenner>>>by a cop...cops in nola aint nothing nice but the ones in the suburbs let me go quite a few times...i remember a couple years back they arrested like 9 nola cops or something in a warehouse cocaine bust...that whole situation was messed up.

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