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Vancouver police officer spotted wearing unauthorized 'thin blue line' patch during decampment

The VPD said the officer has not "suffered any consequences" but did not say whether he would.
A VPD officer was spotted with a "thin blue line" patch during the decampment in the Downtown Eastside.

A member of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) was spotted with an unapproved and controversial badge on his vest during the Hastings decampment. 

On April 5, roughly 100 VPD officers and dozens of city workers gathered in the Downtown Eastside to dismantle a large encampment that spread over several city blocks in the area of Hastings and Main streets. 

Police cordoned off the area to pedestrians and traffic and would not allow people who left the area to come back in after they walked out.

Shortly after police congregated in the DTES, the four city traffic cameras that stream the intersection at Main and Hastings went offline for nearly an hour. 

The city told V.I.A. in an emailed statement that the feed for the cameras at the busy intersection was down from roughly 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. due to a "staff error."

During the activity in the DTES a Twitter account called Defund 604 Network shared an image of a VPD officer wearing what they call a "prohibited symbol" on the day police and city crews began to remove the campers.

The patch, which depicts a Canadian flag with a thin blue line running through it, was worn on the vest of a Vancouver officer at a downtown protest in November 2021. A person subsequently filed a written complaint with the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner. 

The 'thin blue line' patch is viewed by many people as a racist symbol 

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, said the patch has been widely recognized as a racist symbol and worn by police and citizens at various protests in Canada and the United States.

Vancouver police officers were no longer authorized to wear the "thin blue line" patch on their uniforms. 

At the April 2022 board meeting, Police Chief Adam Palmer said the patch was worn by “a relatively small number” of officers. At the time, he said officers viewed the patch as a connection with fallen officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

When asked why the VPD officer at the encampment was wearing one, VPD spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin told V.I.A. that "some officers choose to wear them as a sign of respect for colleagues who have made the ultimate sacrifice" but that it is not an "approved" patch.

"This officer was probably wearing the patch to honour the 10 Canadian police officers killed in the line of duty since September. Seven of those officers were murdered," she said. 

When asked if the officer will face consequences for wearing the badge, Visintin said he has not "suffered any consequences" but did not say whether he would.

With files from Mike Howell.