UPDATE: City Reneges On Promise – Takes Roy’s Property To The Dump

By April 19, 2014Abbotsford News

14:30 April 19, Despite assurances made by City Clerk Bill Flitton on Good Friday to both The 5 and 2 Ministries and the Abbotsford Chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors (DWS), City workers spent Saturday loading all of Roy Roberts property from his camp in front of Abbotsford Community Services, where it has been for months, in order to cart it all away to the dump.

Jesse Wegenast, from 5 and 2 told Today, “The City promised this would not happen. They broke their word to us.” Ward Draper, told Today “You can imagine how we feel after the assurances we were given by the City that this would not happen. We are furious,” said Draper.

Barry Shantz, head of the Abbotsford DWS, said that his last communication with the City was on Good Friday when he was asked, by the City, what the best thing was to do with Roberts’ belongings. Shantz said he told the City to put Roberts’ property in a container or at least secure it with the confiscated DWS building materials under Roberts’ own tarps. The City, according to Shantz, agreed that they would cover Roberts’ belongings with his tarps if they had to store it outside.

Wegenast told Today that the City told him on Saturday that Shantz had okayed the trashing of Roberts’ property.

“That is simply untrue,” said Shantz, “I am finding it hard to believe the City would go this far in lying about what I would say regarding Roy’s disposition.”

Shantz said that the DWS has been very concerned about Roberts for weeks as the the City and the police have been harassing and bothering him several times a week to try to get him to move and give up his possessions.

“We pleaded with the City, and warned them, that if they kept harassing Roy, something bad was going to happen. It seems they didn’t heed our pleas,” said Shantz.

Bylaw officer Dwayne Fitzgerald initially approached 5 and 2 Ministries to get their advice on how to store Roberts’ belongings but something happened between Good Friday and Saturday morning to change the City’s position and make a liar out of Flitton.

Today has asked Flitton, Deputy City Manager Jake Rudolph, City Manager George Murray and Mayor Banman, who it was that overruled Flitton and gave the order to throw Roberts’ property in the garbage. We will report their answers if and when they reply.

Man Brought Down By Rubber Bullets Was Roy Roberts
17:05 April 17, Abbotsford Today has learned that the ‘Distraught Man’ arrested with the use of rubber bullets by the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) on Wednesday is Roy Colin Roberts

Photo by Bas Stevens

Roberts is a member of the Abbotsford Chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors and is considered by many in the homeless community consider to be the most harassed, arrested and watched man in the City’s history. He is said to have had more interactions with police, city, and social services staff that any other person in the City’s history. He grew up in Abbotsford, he struggles with mental illness and has been reacting poorly to the increased frequency with which the authorities have been visiting him at his camp across from Abbotsford Community Services (ACS) and trying to remove what they consider garbage but Roy considers his belongings.

Today has learned that Roberts is being held and is under psychiatric care at. He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning.

Watch this space for updates.

– 19:46 April 16, Distraught Man Taken Into Custody By APD
This afternoon at 2:14 pm the Abbotsford Police Department received 911 calls reporting a man yelling and brandishing a large knife outside a building in the 33900 block of Essendene Avenue in downtown Abbotsford.

APD officers arrived on scene and attempted to communicate with the man but he refused to comply with their commands. Less lethal force options were ultimately deployed by officers. This resulted in the man being subdued and taken into custody. The 57 year old man has been transported to hospital to receive treatment and a mental health assessment.

The Abbotsford Police Department is continuing to investigate this incident which took place in a busy downtown environment. We would like to appeal to all witnesses to come forward. A number of witnesses were observed with smartphones in hand and the APD is requesting a copy of images and video of the incident to ensure that our investigation is complete and comprehensive.

Anyone with information about this incident should call the Abbotsford Police Department at 604-859-5225 or text 222973 (abbypd).

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