Riot in Vancouver: Police delve into evidence via social media

Photos and videos began circulating on social media almost immediately after a riot broke out at a music festival in Vancouver last week. Now the police are investigating all those reports as evidence in a criminal investigation.

Chaos broke out at the PNE when the headliner, Lil Baby, abruptly canceled his concert Sunday night. The venue was destroyed by angry fans and property damage in the area is estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars. Seven people were arrested that night.

Vancouver Police Department spokesman Sgt. Steve Addison said anyone who grabbed their phone and recorded what happened — intentionally or not — gathered evidence that the researchers are now searching through.

“Sometimes people make it easy for us when they pull out their camera and start recording themselves, their friends or other people committing criminal acts,” he said.

“There’s already a significant amount of evidence. Just look at social media, look at what people have already spread on social media. We’re going to ask those people to send us the video that we expect to have a lot.”

On Wednesday, the department launched a special online portal where people can upload images or footage. The website says the police are specifically looking for anything “that depicts violence, destruction or other criminal acts”.

There were about 5,200 people in the venue for the festival, and officials estimate that about 1,000 of them remained after the headliner’s cancellation.

In addition to sales kiosks and trash cans being knocked over, tables, tents and refrigerators were knocked over and thrown away, police said. The VPD also said officers trying to control the crown were met with hostility and bottles and other objects were thrown at them.

The crowd also poured into the surrounding neighborhood, reportedly causing additional damage to local businesses. No serious injuries were reported.

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart also weighed in on the incident, saying: “This has no place in our city and I hope the police catch these people”

Featuring files from CTV News Vancouver’s St. John Alexander and Alyse Kotyk

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