CinC Founding Director Jason Wilcox sits down with Bert Easterbrook, a man once celebrated by Vancouver for his heroism, who was at the forefront of the 2015 Cannabis Day clash with Vancouver police. Easterbrook burned his award outside city hall in protest.
Easterbrook was honoured with a Certificate of Merit in 2013 from the City of Vancouver for stopping rioters from flipping over a truck during the Stanley Cup riots. On July 1st, he and two others were charged with obstruction after they tried to stop police from arresting a man for selling cannabis at the annual Cannabis Day celebration.
“It’s absolutely ironic,” Easterbrook said at the time. “I don’t choose to be honoured by cowards, so I’ll burn my award.” Easterbrook put his framed certificate and pennant in a metal bucket and lit them on fire outside city hall.
On July 1st, Easterbrook and several others used a so-called “hug power” technique to keep the police from arresting Neil Magnuson, who was arrested and eventually charged with trafficking. Magnuson said he didn’t sell to anyone he thought was under 17 and questioned how one defined a “minor.” Magnuson said an officer warned him to stop selling but never mentioned youth. He refused to stop and was arrested.
This was the first instance of violence with police in the peaceful event’s 20-year history. Three weeks before the annual celebration, organizers received a cease-and-desist letter from the city in an attempt to cancel the popular gathering of community supporters. The clash occurred while the city is planning to regulate medical cannabis dispensaries.
Editor’s Note: Thanks to Press for Truth for the use of their footage in the production of this video.
More on Cannabis Day events, including an interview with Neil Magnuson, may be found here.