Pubdate: Fri, 03 Jul 2015
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2015 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Laura Kane
Page: 6


Stanley Cup riot hero says he'll burn award from police after Cannabis
Day arrest

A man arrested at a Vancouver pot protest on Canada Day is vowing to
burn an award he received for heroism during the Stanley Cup riot.

Vancouver police honoured Bert Easterbrook in 2013 with a certificate
of merit - the highest award for civilian bravery - for stopping
rioters from flipping over a truck two years earlier.

Easterbrook and two others were charged Wednesday with obstruction
after trying to stop police from arresting a man for trafficking at
the annual Cannabis Day event.

"It's absolutely ironic," Easterbrook said. "I don't choose to be
honoured by cowards, so I'll burn my award."

Easterbrook said he will put his framed certificate and pennant in a
metal bucket and light them on fire outside city hall on Friday.

In a 2013 police document, his actions during the riot are described
as "selfless" and "decisive." It notes he was swarmed by a mob after
he stopped rioters from overturning a truck.

Police said they had to intervene at Wednesday's protest because a man
ignored a warning to stop selling pot to minors. Easterbrook and
several others used a so-called "hug power" technique, surrounding the
man and linking arms.

Neil Magnuson identified himself as the man charged with trafficking.
He said he didn't sell to anyone he thought was under 17.

Magnuson said an officer warned him to stop selling, but never
mentioned youth. He refused to stop, but hadn't sold any more
marijuana by the time he was arrested, he said.

During the arrest, officers kneed him in the back, twisted his arm and
nearly caused him to lose consciousness, he alleged.

Const. Brian Montague said it would be inappropriate for him to debate
with the accused in the media.

"Our officers never want to use force and we never have to use force
when those involved comply with the direction of police," he said.

David Malmo-Levine said he was also charged with obstruction after he
used the "hug power" tactic, tackling Magnuson as he was being led to
a police vehicle.

"I was trying to stop the arrest of a harmless individual,"
Malmo-Levine said.

Cannabis Day organizer Jodie Emery blamed the city for the violence
that erupted when police tried to arrest Magnuson, adding no such
problems have occurred in the event's 20-year history.

The city sent Emery and her husband - pot activist Marc Emery - a
cease-and-desist letter last month asking that the event not go ahead
because it didn't have the necessary permits. Organizers met with city
officials and agreed it would proceed on a smaller scale.

City manager Penny Ballem said she sees no contradiction between the
arrests and Vancouver's recent decision to become the first city in
Canada to regulate illegal dispensaries.

The city has made it clear that marijuana sales to youth will not be
tolerated and that dispensaries cannot sell to minors under the new
regulations, she said.
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