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Police Raid Cafe That Sold Pot, Arrest Six People


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Dozens of Vancouver police officers arrested six people Thursday evening in a raid on a busy Commercial Drive cafe that openly sold marijuana. Vancouver police spokeswoman Const. Sarah Bloor said the six arrested inside Da Kine cafe face charges of trafficking a controlled substance.
Outside, some in a crowd of over 200 people taunted police officers, who blocked Commercial between Parker and Napier streets for several hours after the 6 p.m. raid, stopping business at about 20 shops and delaying shooting of a Hollywood movie, The Fantastic Four.

The crowd cheered as The Peg General Store played Bob Marley's songs, Get Up, Stand Up, and I Shot the Sheriff, while others smoked marijuana or debated with police manning barricades.

More than 100 people continued protesting late into the night, blaming the media for putting Da Kine in the spotlight and accusing police of wasting money.

Bloor said the city's drug squad executed a search warrant at Da Kine after complaints by Britannia secondary school, the Grandview Woodland Community Policing Centre and others.

She said Da Kine had been "very blatant" about breaking the law. "It was obvious they made this a public event by flaunting their activity."

She said Thursday's raid did "not react" to B.C. Solicitor-General Rich Coleman's comments a day earlier that openly selling pot was unacceptable while city politicians took a "ho-hum attitude." Coleman does not direct police operations or investigations, but said Wednesday he was confident the law would be enforced.

But residents such as Tammie Tupechka, a member of the board that manages the Britannia Community Centre, called the raid a "message of force and intimidation" that was politically motivated and didn't reflect the wishes of most area residents and business owners.

Bloor said the police action had "overwhelming support by other neighbourhoods."

She said police were still gathering evidence in the cafe Thursday night. She did not say whether police would raid other shops on Commercial Drive and Hastings Street that also peddle marijuana and related products.

Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Author: Chris Johnson, Vancouver Sun
Published: Friday, September 10, 2004
Copyright: 2004 Vancouver Sun
Contact: sunletters@png.canwest.com
Website: Vancouver Sun
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