It’s been just over a week since a cancelled performance sparked a riot at the PNE Amphitheatre – and a Vancouver police probe which will be taking a page from the Stanley Cup riot playbook as investigators work to identify the suspects responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
When BREAKOUT Festival headliner Lil Baby cancelled at the last minute on Sept. 18, fans unleashed their anger on the PNE venue toppling tables and tents, overturning food kiosks and fridges, looting and fighting.
Rioters cause hundreds of thousands in damages after cancelled PNE concert
Seven people were arrested for breaching the peace and Vancouver’s top cop vows to bring all of the rioters to justice.
“The people that did that, we’re going to hold them accountable,” VPD Chief Const. Adam Palmer told the police board on Sept. 22.
The Vancouver Police Department is already seeing evidence uploaded to an online video portal launched on Sept. 21.
A similar VPD website set up after the 2011 Stanley Cup riot generated a huge response.
“We had over a million still photos and thousands and thousands of hours of video,” Palmer told Global News on the 10-year anniversary of the downtown mayhem that caused just over $3.7 million in total damage.
Three hundred people were charged in the Stanley Cup riot. Two hundred and eighty-four pleaded guilty and nine others were convicted at trial resulting in a 98 per cent conviction rate.
Eleven years later, tech experts say video submissions will be much clearer as the camera is the smartphone feature that has improved the most.
“You’re seeing more megapixels you’re seeing a higher resolution,” said Andy Baryer of HandyAndy Media.
“When they’re looking at this image, they’re looking at cameras that even Hollywood uses to make commercials and movies so the image quality is unrefutable and the fact that they have so much of this shared on social media, it’s just a matter of time for them to collect all of it and to use it as evidence.”
Squire Barnes: The 2011 Stanley Cup riot, ten years later
“Our ability to analyze that video and bring people to justice and identify people is second to none,” added Palmer.
“It’s not good to be caught on video doing something illegal,” criminal lawyer Sarah Leamon told Global News Sunday.
Leamon said certain actions could potentially reduce an accused rioter’s sentence – if they’re convicted.
“It is possible that turning yourself in or making an expression of remorse can be taken as a mitigating factor.”
When video footage surfaced of rioters flipping over vehicles, smashing windows and looting stores in 2011, people lost jobs and scholarships while students were kicked out of university.
Palmer expects we’ll see similar outcomes when the VPD releases photos of suspects in the PNE riot.
“I’ll guarantee you that parents, relatives, friends, the person that you sit next to in your biology class, your neighbour down the street, the person that didn’t like you in high school, whatever it is, people will phone in to the number and they will tell us who you are,” Palmer warned.
“We are going to come knocking and arrest you and take you into custody.”
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