West Vancouver’s chief of police has a stern message for youth after Canada Day celebrations at Ambleside turned into a drunken, violent mess.
Police say the beach was already busy with families who’d come to watch the Canada Day fireworks but upwards of 300 teens, many underage and intoxicated, had gathered near the skate park. Officers on foot patrol approached the group around 8:50 p.m. and matters escalated, according to police.
“A struggle ensued after the person is alleged to have charged at one of the officers. The rest of the group quickly surrounded the officers and began chanting and swearing obscenities, while many filmed the interaction,” a release from Const. Kevin Goodmurphy stated.
Two officers were assaulted, Goodmurphy said. Although there were no serious injuries, one of them received a bloody nose in the fracas. “As far as the criminal code is concerned, that constitutes bodily harm,” he said.
More officers arrived to help move the crowd towards the beach area, where more fights broke out amongst the group. Eventually police closed down the park, causing traffic backups and ruining Canada Day festivities for everyone else. It took more than three hours to disperse the group, Goodmurphy said.
Two teens were arrested and released. No charges have been sworn yet but the assaults remain under investigation.
“We’re still looking at identifying witnesses and talking to people and considering whether or not we’re actually going to be recommending charges,” he said.
Goodmurphy said it isn’t clear who organized the large group to come to the park, but it’s a safe bet word spread on social media, he added. “It was a little bit of a fiasco,” he said. “This is definitely not a common occurrence for us.”
West Vancouver police Chief Len Goerke said West Vancouver residents and visitors can expect rigid enforcement of the law in public places.
“This type of violent behaviour cannot and will not be tolerated in West Vancouver,” he stated in the release. “Foot patrols throughout our parks and beaches will be ongoing over the summer months and enforcement action will be taken where officers find individuals contravening the Liquor Control and Licensing Act, or disrupting the peace and lawful use and enjoyment of public space by drunkenness, violence, or threats of violence.”