Published in 24 Hours Vancouver | February 5, 2014 | Circulation: 280,000+
A man called by many a Good Samaritan testified Wednesday that people “just lost their minds” during the 2011 Stanley Cup riot.
Robert MacKay, a 39-year-old chef, is a Crown witness in the trial of four alleged rioters. He testified his recollections of attempting to stave off window-breakers and looters outside the Bay in downtown Vancouver — at first with only his arms outstretched and then with variations of a single repeated plea: “This is my (expletive) city.”
Facing four charges each, including taking part in a riot and assaulting MacKay, are Michael MacDonald, David Leonati, Ioannis Kangles and Carlos Barahona Villeda. All four, unlike most others charged in the five-hour unrest, have pleaded not guilty.
MacKay testified he saw another man, in a white Canucks jersey, holding his arms out in front of the storefront, and decided the “right thing” was to “jump in and try to give him a hand.”
But when one man lunged at him with a metal pole that had fallen from a smashed window, MacKay managed to wrest it away and use it to “attempt to push the whole crowd back from the storefront,” he testified.
At that point, as a bystander’s video shown in court documented, MacKay was pushed to the ground and kicked repeatedly in the back, ribs and head, leaving him with bruising and pain for nearly three weeks, he said.
The trial is set to continue for three weeks. So far, 290 rioters have been charged for participating in the riot, according to Vancouver police.