Video shows violent arrest of father by Vancouver police with young son nearby

An Indigenous family has released a video showing a violent arrest of a father outside a Vancouver Walmart.

The incident took place on Mother’s Day in 2019.

The family says they were racially profiled inside a Walmart store but outside things got worse.

The graphic video shows Shane Robertson, 41, outside a Walmart in Vancouver being arrested.

Another officer arrives on the scene and starts kicking Robertson in the ribs.

All the while, his seven year old son can be seen huddled beside him.

Just steps away, police were trying to arrest Elder Margaret Deneault who was in her vehicle watching her son and grandson struggle while parked in a disabled spot.

“As a health professional I was very shocked in my mind, I was going through I can’t be arrested I will lose my job,” said Deneault who works for Vancouver Coastal Health with people who have mental health and addictions. “I cant lose my grandson to the ministry and they just proceeded to not ask questions but cuff you, and harass you right away.”

Deneault says it was supposed to be a nice Mother’s Day with a trip to Walmart to buy a patio set and food for a BBQ.

She said as soon as they walked in they were followed by a Walmart security guard.

“My son had noticed and he told me on the way out the guy was following him all over Walmart and proceeding with the cart,” she said. “And the security guard grabbed the cart going out the door my son we paid for everything, the guy shouldered my son and my son shouldered him back and the immediately he called on his cell to the police.”

The security guard told police that Robertson had assaulted him – but Deneault says it was the guard who initiated the contact.

She said once police arrived on the scene, they tackled her son to the ground without saying anything to him.

Robertson was arrested and released hours later without charge.

“Watching that guy that just passed away George Floyd it’s kind of similiar to that, that’s what triggered it,” said Robertson who suffers from a brain injury. “They don’t really care if you say you cant breathe right it s what it is right.

APTN News: Could you breathe at the time?

“No,” Robertson said. “Because they were on top of you? Yeah.”

Deneault wants to see changes with the way police handle these situations.

“I would like to see them having their own respectful ways being present and that we are not mistreated by a system where there is no control where incidents happen,” she said. “And I don’t want to see anymore incidents I want my grandchildren feeling that they are safe and we have a voice like anyone else.”

Walmart said it’s investigating the incident.

According to the police, officers were responding to Walmart for “reports of an assault in progress.”

“The caller had told our dispatcher than the suspect had spat on one security member and then pushed another,” said a statement from
Cont. Tania Visintin. “The suspect was very confrontational with police and refused to listen and follow the direction of the members.  He continued to yell out profanities to police and refused to put his hands behind his back.”

“The suspect was taken to jail for breach of peace given the level of violence he displayed and his previous interaction with store staff.”

According to police, the security guard didn’t want to press charges.

Video Journalist / Vancouver

A proud Métis from BC, Tina began her television career in 1997 as a talent agent for film and TV. She joined APTN National News in 2007 as a Video Journalist in the Vancouver bureau. In 2010, she was the recipient of the Amnesty International Human Rights Journalism Award for her story on murdered and missing women and girls.