"I got barred from Carnegie," the artist said when he approached our table, laughing a little nervously.
The tall, caucasian, twenty-something artist, wearing knee-lengthy grey shorts and a white t-shirt, explained that he had been barred when he walked into Carnegie "the Friday before the strike" with his small two-wheel pull cart (the type people used to bring home groceries or books from the library.) Security guards stopped him and told him that he could not enter the building with the cart. "I told them they were being unreasonable," he said. He argued with them.By the time they were finished, "there were three security guards and two cops", he said, shaking his head.
"They told the cops I was violent," he said. "I wasn't violent. I didn't comply but I wasn't violent."
The artist was asked by a man at the table to describe the security guards. There was a Black guy and a White guy with a ball cap. He didn't describe the third one.
"Did the Black guy have short sort of dreadlocks?" a woman at the table asked. "Yeah," the artist said. "That would be Trey," she said. But the artist made a point of saying that Trey was not as bad as the other guard, the one with the ball cap. There are two White security guards at Carnegie who wear ball caps, Skip, the Head of Security, and Mike, but we couldn't pinpoint exactly who that second guard was.
The artist doesn't know how long he is barred for. Like most barred people, he wasn't given anything in writing that would identify the reason for the barring or the name of the security guard who had made the decision to bar him from an entire City building. And like many barred people, the artist seems to be intending not to go back to Carnegie.
"It was a blessing," he said, adding that Carnegie Centre is not a good place to be going anyway.
This is only one side of the story of course. The guards no doubt have a different side. A volunteer at Carnegie has explained that the guards are under strict instructions not to allow carts in as part of the battle to keep bed bugs out of the center. He said they also don't want people carting in bottles and cans that they've collected, although the artist wasn't doing that.
The problem is that the apparent lack of due process in the artist's barring is an all too familiar story at Carnegie.
Rachel Davis, a Carnegie Board member, talked about the pattern of barrings without due process at Carnegie on Vancouver Co-operative Radio on July 30. There are rules that pertain to barrings, she said. "[A]ll barrings are supposed to have incident reports attached to that barring but, yes, often there aren't incident reports and if there are, they won't show them to you."