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Vancouver's 'Roller Girl' charged with rollerblading behind truck

Angela Dawson says the 'unnecessary ticket' has inspired her to run for city council to fight for human rights, dignity, humanity and spirtuality.
Angela Dawson is also known as 'Roller Girl' to many Vancouverites. She's often spotted in the Downtown Eastside in her pink attire, directing traffic while on wheels.

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, Nov. 23.

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

"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."

It's not just at Main and Hastings where Roller Girl has been a fixture, often directing traffic while on wheels in her trademark bright pink attire. She's also known to direct traffic at Commercial and Broadway and Main and 14th.

"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 told Glacier Media 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 her dead name.

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, 2022, for her to seek legal counsel.

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Editor's note: An earlier version of this story referenced Angela Dawson's dead name. We sincerely apologize for the error.