Criminal charges are not being recommended by the provincial police watchdog agency against the Ridge Meadows RCMP officer who shot and killed a mental health patient in his Maple Ridge home last summer.
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) released its report on the shooting Thursday (Sept. 24). It states taht Kyaw Din, 54, was violent toward police officers during the Aug. 11, 2019 incident, justifying the use of force.
The report refers to din as Affected Person, or “AP.”
“AP would not come out of his bedroom, and there were concerns that he might respond violently when officers entered,” said the report. “After the bedroom door was opened, AP threw an object in the officer’s direction. A conducted energy weapon was deployed but was not effective. AP then charged at officers with a knife in his hand, and was fatally shot by the subject officer.”
The 23-page report goes on to identify a paring knife with a three-inch blade, and a 2.5 kg barbell weight as the object Din had thrown at officers. It struck a hallway wall, leaving dents in the drywall.
Neil Chantler, a lawyer representing Din’s family, said the family has been devastated by the IIO report.
“It’s a tragic decision by the IIO not to refer this matter to Crown counsel,” said Chantler. “This will be a very painful day for the family.”
The key element of the case is the decision of police to go into the bedroom, instead of waiting for the arrival of Din’s brothers, who were en route, said Chantler.
He said police made that decision “in the face of his sister pleading for them to wait,” and that decision is “accepted as reasonable by the IIO.”
“There was no urgency to the situation,” said Chantler.
Din had been apprehended under the Mental Health Act on 11 previous occasions. The report said he had always been “happy to go to hospital with police.”
The report said Din had not recognized his sister that morning, and had threatened her, according to a police witness. The officer also said Din seemed aggressive, upset and angry in tone. Din was Burmese, and did not speak English. His sister, Yin Yin Din, told police that Din believed he was being attacked by lasers and radiation. He was diagnosed as schizophrenic, and had not been taking medication.
A paramedic described Din as having been angry or scared before police entered his room.
Police witnesses said they had been told Din was suicidal, and were concerned he might harm himself, and decided to enter the room. The space was too confined for officers to use pepper spray.
Both paramedics on scene told the IIO that police officers struggled to open the bedroom door, with Din resisting them. They heard the Taser being used, and then seconds later, heard three gunshots. One paramedic said the time lapse was 5-8 seconds, and one estimated 10 seconds.
Both paramedics said there was no possibility of resuscitation, as Din’s blood loss at the scene was “not survivable.”
The report addresses the police decision to enter the bedroom, saying he “clearly needed mental wellness help, and it was their responsibility to try to get it for him.”
The report concluded, “The presence of other family members might have helped, had no effect, or worsened the situation. While waiting there was the unknown risk of what AP might do while left alone in the room.”
Chantler said the family is now asking the BC Coroners Service for a coroner’s inquest into the shooting.