Home BRITISH COLUMBIA Spike in police-involved incidents in Vancouver, including shootings: IIO

Spike in police-involved incidents in Vancouver, including shootings: IIO


Vancouver, August 23: As a provincial watchdog probe a police-involved death in Vancouver, the Independent Investigations Office says the incident in the Downtown Eastside is one of an unprecedented number of serious and fatal incidents in British Columbia this year.

Province-wide, the overall number of reports the IIO is called in to investigate has increased significantly, according to chief civilian director Officer Ronald McDonald. And Vancouver is not bucking the trend.

The office has been called to Vancouver 38 times in 2022, according to online data. News releases were sent out in 17 cases.

In 2021, there were 48 reports out of Vancouver for the entire year. News releases were issued in 23 of these.

McDonald says the decision about which incidents to inform the media and broader public about involves a number of factors, but generally speaking, statements are sent out and public reports are written in cases where the harm is significant, the investigation is complex, and the public interest is engaged.

McDonald notes that the IIO reports on data by fiscal year – starting on April 1.

A spike in officer-involved shootings is one of the things he says really stands out this year. Generally, McDonald says the office is called to investigate an average of seven shootings each fiscal year. Since April 1 of 2022 there have been 16 – five of them in Vancouver.

Despite initial reports, Monday’s fatal incident was not a shooting. The VPD told reporters that a beanbag gun was used on a man who was “acting erratically” near East Hastings Street and Dunlevy Avenue around 8 a.m. According to the department, the man was taken into custody following an “interaction.” He lost consciousness and died at the scene despite attempts to revive him, the VPD and IIO both said. The man was not armed. During an interaction with police, the man went into medical distress and lost consciousness. Police and Emergency Health Services attempted to resuscitate the man, but he died at the scene.

On Aug. 6, the VPD was called to a rooming house on Granville Street downtown and shot a man who lived there. The IIO’s statement said the man had a weapon and had reportedly injured at least one person. The VPD said, in its statement, that the man had set his room on fire, was wielding a machete and had injured four people. No information was provided about the extent of the man’s gunshot injuries but the shooting was not fatal.

A week prior, police were driving on the Downtown Eastside near Hastings and Columbia streets and “observed a man waving a weapon,” according to the IIO. “An interaction occurred, and shots were fired by police,” the statement said. The VPD, in that case, said the man used the weapon to assault and seriously injure an officer and that an attempt to subdue the man with a Taser was not successful. The department would not, despite being asked several times, say what kind of weapon the man allegedly used to assault the officer. No information was provided about the man’s condition but the shooting was not fatal.



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