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Vancouver riots 2011: Crown to look at potential charges

VANCOUVER - What possible charges could the befall the Stanley Cup rioters from last Wednesday, is something Crown Counsel will be looking at with the Vancouver Police department later today.

The VPD have reportedly received more than one million photos and tips from people who took footage during the Vancouver riots last Wednesday, and they are asking people to hold onto all their evidence and to exercise patience when waiting for a response from police due to the large amount of tips received.

Over the weekend, 17-year-old rioter Nathan Kotylak made a statement to the media apologising for his role in the Vancouver riots after photos and videos of him appeared online allegedly showing him taking part in the events. He and his family have been forced to move out of their Maple Ridge home, after their address was posted online.

Christopher Schneider, a UBC sociologist and expert in criminology and social media, told the Vancouver Sun that the massive online reaction to the Vancouver riots is unprecedented and potentially as groundbreaking as WikiLeaks.

“There will be a lot of fallout, and we will probably see a lot of case law coming out of this.”

It will also, perhaps, change the way citizens move in the virtual world, forever. “The mob mentality has moved into cyberspace for the first time.”

Schneider said: “Many of the comments are horrific, threatening things that these people might not normally say.”

“There is a profound disconnect between who we are online and in life. We are still learning how to be cyber citizens,” he said.

A photo of a person, or a joke posted on Facebook, could be taken out of context. “This could ruin people’s lives even if they are cleared in court."

Meanwhile, a new Angus Reid poll shows 90 per cent of British Columbians felt disgusted at the events that unfolded in Vancouver after the Stanley Cup Final.

The great majority of respondents say they want rioters to face justice and be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

About two-thirds say they are satisfied with the way the VPD handled the situation, but four-in-five would welcome the use of non-lethal alternatives (such as rubber bullets, bean bags shotguns) for crowd dispersal.

At the same time, more than half of British Columbians don’t want the Stanley Cup riot to result in an outright ban on street parties in Vancouver.

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