A rash of violent attacks on Victoria police officers in recent weeks — including an incident Monday where an officer was struck by a stolen car outside Our Place on Pandora Avenue — is taking a toll on the health and well-being of officers, Police Chief Del Manak said Tuesday.
Manak condemned the violent Monday attack on the 10-year veteran, a front-line officer who had also served as a member of the Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) for years, helping those with severe mental illness.
Around 8:30 a.m. Monday, the officer was standing next to a police vehicle when he was struck from behind by the driver of a stolen 2008 black Chevrolet Cobalt.
The officer was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
“He is now recovering at home with his family, and we are grateful for the outpouring of support which we have received from across the community,” said Manak, adding the injured officer has forged personal connections with many of those experiencing homelessness and mental illness.
The driver was arrested at the scene and taken to cells at the police department.
Manak said he is deeply concerned about the severity and volume of violent crime in the community, which is affecting his officers.
“I worry about the human toll that these attacks continue to have on our officers,” he said. “This is not sustainable.”
Anti-police sentiment, disregard for law and order, and disrespect for authority is not a solution, said the chief, who was himself assaulted at a memorial last weekend at the legislature for an Indigenous woman who was shot and killed by police in New Brunswick last year. Someone poured liquid on Manak.
“Working together, understanding that police strive to help and serve our community, and recognizing that we must take steps to address this violence together is the only path forward,” Manak said in a statement Tuesday.
Investigators want to speak to anyone who witnessed Monday’s incident on Pandora Avenue, or has dashcam footage of the car striking the officer.
Police believe the Cobalt was being driven erratically prior to the incident, in the 900-block and 1000-block of Johnson Street and the 1300-block and 1400-block of Vancouver Street. Officers would also like to speak with two cyclists who were nearly struck by the stolen car near the intersection of Vancouver Street and Pandora Avenue.
A 27-year-old Nanaimo man has been charged with assaulting a police officer with a weapon, dangerous driving and possession of stolen property. Chance Kenton Nichol has agreed to remain in custody at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre until his next court appearance on Oct. 5.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the VicPD non-emergency line at 250-995-7654. To make an anonymous report, call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.