Crown Council has decided not to prosecute Roy Roberts, the man Abbotsford police attacked and shot with rubber bullets and bean bags last spring after staff at the Abbotsford Food Bank complained about his behaviour.
Cover photo: Roy Colin Roberts is a DWS member and grew up in Abbotsford . Photo by Bas Stevens
The APD was roundly criticized for it’s use of force and the confusing manner in which officers, once it was clear Roberts had no knife and presented no danger, either to himself or the public, simply continued calling him ‘John’ and firing on him while yelling at him to get down.
Roberts is seen in the video and heard to be screaming, “What did I do. What did I do.”
According to a report in the Abbotsford News, “Provincial Crown counsel spokesman Neil MacKenzie said Crown stayed the charge because it was felt that, although there was “some degree of disturbance going on that resulted in police attending,” it was not likely that Roberts would be convicted on the “available evidence.”
“In particular, the Crown was not satisfied … that it could be proven that he (Roberts) was in possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose,” MacKenzie said.
As a result of his shooting, Roberts was arrested and taken away for observation and later released only to find that the City of Abbotsford had taken all of his belongings, including an expensive set of tools, and thrown it all in the dump.
Trying to get back to some form of normalcy after his life was torn apart by the APD and the City for something he didn’t do, Roberts ended up settling in the homeless camp at the Happy Tree opposite the Salvation Army.
When the evacuation of that camp on July 31 was over, Roberts was among those whose belongings were not stored for his retrieval and who had not left the area. His gear and all of his belongings are on a 10 ft self-engineered cart on wheels and he is currently staying near the BC Hydro land from which he was evicted on the road allowance across from the Salvation Army.
Barry Shantz, head of the Abbotsford Chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors (DWS) said that, unfortunately, the treatment of Roy Roberts is all to common in Abbotsford.
“The idea that the most evicted man in Abbotsford should have his belongings stolen by the City, be repeatedly shot and abused by the Abbotsford Police Department and forced to live on a road allowance beside a busy street, with cars whizzing by him at high speed, in fear for his life, is an absolute shame which this city must end,” he said.