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Vancouver street icon Roller Girl alleges police harassment as she appears in court

'Roller Girl' faces charges

Vancouver street icon Roller Girl has been charged with rollerblading.

Roller Girl, less known by Angela Dawson, claims Vancouver police put her in danger when they stopped her at Main and Keefer on April 20 while rollerblading behind a truck.

"The truck could have pulled a fast stop," she said. "I could have run into the truck because of the cop's siren."

Dawson was charged with unlawfully coasting/sliding with apparatus on a street. She made her first appearance on the charge in Robson Square Provincial Court on Tuesday.

Dawson has been a common sight for almost two decades in the area of Main and Hastings.

"I'm just being me," Dawson said outside of court. "I'm trying to have a workout. I'm trying to make sales of my Roller Girl T-shirts and sweatshirts. Just a regular day for me. That's how I make my living, an honest living."

She's also known to direct traffic at Commercial and Broadway and Main and 14th in her bright pink attire.

"I love it," she said. "I love preventing death. I like to enhance society."

As for being stopped and charged, Dawson said it made her feel "very marginalized."

She thinks the situation is police harassment, adding it took the officer half an hour to give her the ticket.

Dawson, who lives in the Downtown Eastside, said she knows how to be safe.

"I have to be very cautious of my surroundings as a trans woman," she said. "I have to look after myself."

And with that, the 2018 mayoral candidate said she's going to run for city council.

"These unnecessary tickets shouldn't be happening," she said. "I'm fighting for human rights and dignity and humanity and spirituality."

Dawson has taken on the Vancouver Police Department before and won. In 2015, she won a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal case after being refused access to medical care in jail and referred to as Jeffrey.

The tribunal found that Dawson was discriminated against based on sex because she told officers that she was a transgender female and was not treated as such.

The tribunal ordered the Vancouver Police Board to pay Dawson $15,000 in damages for "injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect."

Roller Girl's rollerblading case has been adjourned to Jan. 11 for her to seek legal counsel.



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