A Canadian cop who went undercover as a wheelchair-bound citizen hoping to nab crooks taking advantage of the vulnerable, managed only to solidify Canadians' reputation as friendly and welcoming people.
Vancouver Police Department Staff Sgt. Mark Horsley recently disguised himself as a brain-injured individual confined to a motorized wheelchair and sat on the streets of the city’s Downtown Eastside neighborhood, reports the National Post.
In a YouTube video (shown below), Horsley, recounting his experience, says he received nothing but kindness.
Since January 2014, the neighborhood has seen 14 violent attacks on people in wheelchairs, according to CTV News. The National Post put the number closer to 18.
Horsley said that he thought he would be uniquely positioned, in that wheelchair, to catch someone trying to rob or take advantage of a handicapped person.
“One of the best parts of life is uncertainty, so I didn’t know what to expect," the 30-year police veteran said in a news conference on Thursday. “My boss tied a pork chop around my neck, threw me into a shark tank, and so we will see what happens from there.”
Horsley added that they were hoping to catch a "serious assault or a robbery."
"That's all we were after," he said.
After five deployments in the neighborhood, they didn’t get one.
“Not one person took advantage of my vulnerability,” Horsley says in the YouTube video.
In the video, Horsley narrates numerous scenes of strangers going out of their way to be kind to him.
He tells of a man from Quebec who prayed over him, asking for healing.
A woman, who Horsley asked to help him break a large bill, was reportedly careful not to short-change him after he told her he was unable to count.
And another man, after seeing money hanging out of Horsley’s fanny pack, zipped it up for him.
“Be careful, you don’t want to lose your money,” the stranger told him before going on to tell the officer about his own disabled mother, Horsley notes.
Horsley says in the video he came out of his five deployments $24 ahead of where he started.
“The generosity, the caring, was inspiring,” he adds.
That, coupled with the publicity, means the operation wasn’t a bust.
Inspector Howard Chow told the National Post that word of the recent operation will likely spread through the neighborhood, and criminals will hopefully think twice before victimizing someone in a wheelchair, fearing that the victim might be an undercover cop.
Horsley echoes those sentiments in his video.
“You should know, the police are watching,” he says to would-be criminals. “But more importantly, the people of the Downtown Eastside are watching. They care. And they take care of their vulnerable people.”
Photo Credit: Screenshot from YouTube