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In his eight years at Getty, Heiman had edited hundreds of thousands of photos, including pictures that ended up on the cover of The New York Times and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. None would become as famous as this one.
FIVE MONTHS LATER
It is a cool, drizzly late-November morning in Vancouver. To walk the streets is to see the scars of the riot, if you know where to look: fresh asphalt in parking lots where cars were torched, patches of melted black plastic on the sidewalk where portable toilets burned.
The riot was officially over at 12:32 a.m. on Thursday, June 16, when helicopters reported no more hot spots. Volunteer clean-up crews were already on the scene by then and would work through the coming days. But the wider healing has been decidedly slow.
Mayor Gregor Robertson at first blamed the violence on "hooligans," citing "the scale and organization of the criminals." British Columbia premier Christy Clark's in-box was flooded with e-mails in the days afterward, calling for tough action against the rioters. But it took months for any resolution. In August an independent riot review provided 53 recommendations for the future. In November the VPD announced the names of the first 25 people charged, with offenses ranging from taking part in a riot to arson and assault. Police released 35,000 copies of a poster with the photos of 104 alleged offenders it had yet to identify, many culled from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
On opening night of their 2011--12 season, the Canucks made a show of honoring those who had helped protect and clean up the city. Since then the franchise has tried to distance itself from the events of June 15. (The Canucks did not allow their players to talk about the riot for this story.)
Along the way, citizen heroes emerged: the woman who defended a BMW that wasn't hers, the man who tried to hold back an angry mob from a police car. There were also unfathomable acts: the Canadian junior national team water polo player who was taped trying to set fire to a rag in the gas tank of a police car, the hundreds of hooligans who posed for photos and video.
As for the seven figures in this story, they are still trying to make sense of the night.
Sitting in his office in Vancouver, Police Inspector Steve Rai is proud of his unit's performance. "People didn't realize the violence was a blanket, that it was all over," he says. "Like whack-a-mole." Looking back, he compares the VPD on that night to a sports team that's been training for years and then, on the day of the big game, has to come through. "Compared to the 1994 riots, we had twice the people and controlled it in half the time," he says.
Josh Evans, the mechanical engineer, spent 24 hours in jail before he was released. Four days later he was one of the first alleged offenders publicly identified at a police news conference. It took four months for authorities to withdraw charges against him, during which time Evans felt as if his life had been "turned upside down." He remains frustrated by the experience but doesn't harbor anger toward the VPD. As he sees it, the police were dealing with a difficult situation on a night when an estimated 2,000 911 calls were logged in a span of four hours. Still, he wonders why it took so long for his name to be cleared when it was announced so quickly, and publicly.