The Vancouver Police Department is investigating after activist Chris Elston, also known as "Billboard Chris," says he was assaulted Friday at a trans-rights rally.
"We have launched an investigation into an incident that occurred at yesterday’s trans-rights rally at Grandview Park. We support everyone’s right to peacefully assemble and protest, but we will also hold people accountable for acts of violence and criminal behaviour," the Vancouver Police Department said Saturday afternoon in a tweet that is closed for comment.
"I'll believe them when I see results," Elston said Saturday in a tweet. "Hopefully they conduct an internal investigation into the conduct of their own officers," he added. According to Elston, officers did too little to intervene.
"Billboard Chris" is an activist father based in Canada who opposes surgical and chemical approaches to treating gender dysphoria in children. He reportedly travels across North America wearing sandwich board signs succinctly summarizing his position. He has been interviewed on news and opinion programs including Fox News Channel's "Tucker Carlson Tonight."
One video of Friday's incident in Vancouver shows Elston, already with what appears to be an open cut on the bridge of his nose from an earlier assault in the public park. That video shows a group surrounding him, chanting "f*** you." Police officers are seen standing by as the swarm quickly grows violent.
The video shows one chanting protester with an orange umbrella and a rainbow flag, standing within inches of Elston, directly behind him. As Elston turns, his elbow appears to graze the protester's fluffy coat collar and Elston appears to place his hand lightly on the protester's collar as he continues turning on the spot.
The video shows the protester immediately go for Elston's neck with what appears to be an attempt at a choking type hold. A scuffle ensues as Elston pulls back from the hold, then pushes the protester away, and tumbles toward the group of officers. As Elston creates some distance between himself and the protester group, one female officer among the several officers in view in the footage, appears to be smiling or chuckling.
"I need to sue the VPD. This is obscene," Elston also tweeted.
The first assault at the Vancouver location occurred "within seconds" of his arrival, Elston said, adding that he had called 911 for assistance. According to Elston, the female officer — who appears to be the same officer smiling during the later assault described above — initially suggested Elston might have cut his own nose.
"People can do these things, hurt themselves on purpose ... you provided me no evidence," the officer said, before seeing video of the first assault.
After seeing the video, the officer agrees to "have a conversation" with the people who allegedly first assaulted Elston, "to see what they say."
Watch video of one of the violent interactions between "Billboard Chris" and protesters below.
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