Vancouver Olympic Protests Turn Violent

(AP) VANCOUVER, British Columbia — More than 200 masked Olympic protesters splattered red paint and smashed windows of a popular downtown department store Saturday on the first day of competition at the Vancouver Games.

Police say the group marched through the upscale shopping district, vandalizing cars and stores. Witnesses say protesters threw metal newspaper boxes into the display windows of Hudson’s Bay Company, where Olympic souvenirs are sold.

Police in riot gear quickly moved in and quashed the protest. Police spokeswoman Jana McGuinness confirmed there were arrests, but she did not yet know how many. Authorities planned an afternoon news conference.

Witnesses say nobody appeared injured. Afterward, guards stood in front of the broken windows, which were cordoned off with yellow police tape while Olympic tourists snapped photos. Afterward, workers removed the newspaper boxes.

The protest was organized by the Olympic Resistance Network to “disturb ‘business as usual.'” The ORN is an umbrella group for many causes surrounding the games, ranging from environmental concerns to economic issues.

The most prominent involved native Indians who want to reclaim their property (“No Olympics on Stolen Ancient Land”) and those angry over the amount of money spent on Olympics as opposed to public housing (“Homes Not Games”).

Phone calls to the group were not immediately returned.

Rich Gorman, regional vice president for Hudson’s Bay, estimated the damage at about $10,000. He said the glass display windows were expected to be replaced by the afternoon.

“It’s just unfortunate but nobody was hurt and that’s the key,” he said. “We’ll move on.”

Daniel Mendoca of Vancouver, wearing an orange Olympic hat, saw the mayhem.

“It was pretty intense,” he said.

Riley Arcand lives near the store and called the vandalism “disgusting.”

“We live in the most nicest part of town and everybody’s excited about the Olympics,” he said. “And then you have people who want to ruin it.”

On Friday, several thousand protesters staged an anti-Olympics “Take Back Our Streets” rally before marching to the stadium where the opening ceremony was held. A standoff with police near B.C. Place lasted about two hours and was for the most part peaceful. The protest also was staged by ORN.

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AP Sports Writer Jaime Aron contributed to this report.

[VIDEO] When Putting Out a Man on Fire, Use a Fire Extinguisher, Not Pepper Spray

A Portland, Oregon police officer accidentally used pepper spray instead of a fire extinguisher on a man who lit himself on fire in the downtown area of the city on Jan. 27. Despite the mistake, the bureau’s Police Chief Rosie Sizer said that the officer’s attempt to help was “heroic” – in the emergency, the officer had grabbed a large pepper spray canister normally used for riot control out of the trunk, and the canister was also colored red, similar to a fire extinguisher. Fortunately, authorities said the pepper spray was water-based, not oil-based, and so was not flammable.

Officer used pepper spray to douse man on fire

[VIDEO] Did You Catch the Audi “Green Police” Super Bowl Ad?

Some have criticized the ad as endorsing a “police state,” reminiscent of the Nazi Third Reich, a charge that takes on extra significance given that the commercial is for Audi, a German automobile company, and that the Green police was another name for the Nazi secret police. However, given that all the people “arrested” in the ad are middle-aged white men (Audi’s target consumer) and one of the “police officers” is an African-American man… we think it’s just a silly ad.

Can NJ Police Now Use Stun Guns?

Yes. On November 23, 2009, New Jersey became the last state in the country to allow the use of stun guns by police, albeit only in certain situations.

The rules for stun gun use are as follows. They may only be used to:

1) subdue emotionally disturbed individuals,
2) who have a weapon,
3) who poses an immediate threat of serious bodily injury to themselves, the police, or any other person,
4) who will not voluntarily surrender,
5) and who have been safely contained or isolated so as to allow for the safe use of the stun gun;
6) the highest ranking supervisorial officer on the scene must first approve use of the stun gun, if that is not the same officer carrying it.

Stun Gun Will Have an On-Board Video Camera
Interestingly, the stun gun used by law enforcement personnel will also have an on-board video camera capable of visually recording each incident in which the stun gun is used. The camera will be designed in such a way that the focus of the internal camera will be centered on the person against whom the conducted energy device was targeted. This visual recording will then be accessible after the incident only by authorized law enforcement personnel in order to review the actions of the officers involved.

Other Guidelines

  • An officer is not required to first use the stun gun instead of lethal ammunition in situations where deadly force is justified.
  • Only certain officers will be allowed to use the stun guns. In municipalities with less than 25,000 people, only one officer of a supervisory rank would be allowed to carry a stun gun. This number goes up by gradation up to a maximum of four officers of a supervisory rank in municipalities with more than 75,000 residents.
  • Non-supervisory officers who are members of a SWAT team may also carry stun guns, however, with the approval of the agency’s police chief.
  • All officers carrying stun guns must first complete a training program approved by the Police Training Commission
  • The stun gun will create an electronic date/time record – and visual recording – every time it is discharged.

You can read the complete New Jersey Attorney General’s policy on stun gun use here.