Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

‘Did not see the uniform’: Homeless man to receive award for helping injured VicPD officer

Sandy Fisher does not have many reasons to trust police, but that didn’t stop him from helping an officer in need

By Brishti Basu
October 25, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

‘Did not see the uniform’: Homeless man to receive award for helping injured VicPD officer

Sandy Fisher does not have many reasons to trust police, but that didn’t stop him from helping an officer in need

By Brishti Basu
Oct 25, 2022
Sandy Fisher rescued VicPD Cst. Todd Mason last year when the officer was pinned by a stolen vehicle. Photo: Brishti Basu
Sandy Fisher rescued VicPD Cst. Todd Mason last year when the officer was pinned by a stolen vehicle. Photo: Brishti Basu
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

‘Did not see the uniform’: Homeless man to receive award for helping injured VicPD officer

Sandy Fisher does not have many reasons to trust police, but that didn’t stop him from helping an officer in need

By Brishti Basu
October 25, 2022
Get the news and events in Victoria, in your inbox every morning.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
‘Did not see the uniform’: Homeless man to receive award for helping injured VicPD officer
Sandy Fisher rescued VicPD Cst. Todd Mason last year when the officer was pinned by a stolen vehicle. Photo: Brishti Basu

Sandy Fisher does not have many reasons to trust police in Victoria. 

Fisher has lived in the city for 32 years and been homeless for the past five. In that time, he says street sweeps conducted by bylaw officers and police (who help supervise) have been destructive for vulnerable members of the street community.

But last year, Fisher didn’t think twice before taking action when he saw a uniformed VicPD officer in need of help. The officer, Cst. Todd Mason, was badly injured by a vehicle that had rammed into him outside of Our Place Society.

“I realized his foot was pinned under the wheel of the car, so my automatic response was to do what I could to relieve him and began to lift the car,” Fisher told Capital Daily.

Support Your Community, Support Local Journalism

With paid membership, every penny goes directly to helping our newsroom continue its work and helps our team grow and expand our coverage

Become an Insider

The car didn’t budge on his first attempt, but on the third go, with help from three other people in the unhoused community, Fisher was able to lift the vehicle and roll it back, off of Mason.

This Wednesday, Fisher and others who helped will be presented with a VicPD Civic Service Award plaque by police chief Del Manak. 

The incident took place on the morning of Sept. 27, 2021 and involved a homeless man, Chance Nichol, who had stolen a vehicle, driven it over to the 900-block of Pandora Avenue, and used it to hit Mason. 

Nichol was sentenced to three years in prison for charges of dangerous driving and assaulting a police officer with a weapon. For his part, Mason began a long road to recover his physical and mental health, which he talks about in an episode of a Victoria Police Union podcast called “True Blue.” 

In the episode, Mason discusses the hazards of policing vulnerable communities, particularly on Pandora Avenue. Mason’s first instinct, he told the podcast host, after he realized he had been hit by a vehicle on Pandora and was on his back, was to reach for his gun. 

“I kind of pop my head up and look and notice that my leg was under the car tire, so I'm like, ‘Oh, now I'm really doubly screwed,’” Mason said in the episode. “And then I went to roll with my left hand to try to get my gun out to at least lay there with it to protect myself.”

Instead of more danger, Mason was met with first responders and homeless people working in unison to help. 

Fisher said he did not see the uniform when he jumped to action, but rather saw a person struggling and in pain. 

When he receives his award on Wednesday, Fisher says he plans to use the event as a platform to call on police officers to help instead of harm—because he says he has learned that unhoused people cannot expect the same treatment they gave the officer reciprocated from police or bylaw themselves. 

“[Homeless] people are treated like sub-humans,” Fisher said. “In other words, it doesn't matter who they are, or what their circumstances are. They're treated like…they're a problem that we need to somehow or another just eradicate.”

That kind of treatment, he says, has exacerbated existing tensions on the street, potentially leading to more violence.

“The fear and intimidation that the police presence has created, it comes down into the street community, and it makes people nervous, makes them more prone to violence and irrational activity,” Fisher said. 

“Police need to understand this, they need to take off their badges, they need to come down here in street clothes and provide the social assistance on the ground level that we need to fix the problem.”

[email protected]

Support Your Community, Support Local Journalism

With paid membership, every penny goes directly to helping our newsroom continue its work and helps our team grow and expand our coverage

Become an Insider

Related News

Indigenous learning program brings reconciliation to a local level
Stay connected to your city with the Capital Daily newsletter.
By filling out the form above, you agree to receive emails from Capital Daily. You can unsubscribe at any time.