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May 11th, 2004
Officers face hearing into Guns 'N Roses riot
VANCOUVER - A hearing opens Tuesday into allegations of wrongdoing by two police officers in controlling unruly crowds during the so-called Guns 'N Roses riot a year and a half ago.

Lawyers for two men who suffered serious injuries during a riot outside GM Place will argue that police used unnecessary force.

"There's no doubt that they smashed out my client's teeth," said lawyer Phil Rankin, who brought forward one of the complaints that lead to the hearing. "Nobody even disputes that.

"They said that my client was 'perceived to be a danger to the police officers,' and I think that's hogwash."

An internal review of the incident by Vancouver Police Department cleared the officers last year.

But Rankin says he presented victim statements and video evidence that sparked the order for a public hearing by Police Complaint Commissioner Dirk Ryneveld.

The hearing is expected to last about three weeks. If the commissioner finds fault with the officers, Rankin says the Code of Discipline allows for penalties such as suspension, loss of pay and loss of promotion or rank.

He says a lawsuit has also been launched, which is still "years away" from being adjudicated in civil court.

The violence erupted after a concert by rock group Guns N' Roses was cancelled at the last minute on Nov. 7, 2002, causing fans to throw barricades, smash windows and eventually clash with riot police.

-- With reports by Marisa Taylor, Global BC

Source(s): http://www.canada.com  
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