A woman whose brother was shot to death by Ridge Meadows RCMP during a mental health crisis, has been denied funds for counselling, by the Crime Victim Assistance Program.
Kyaw Din was shot almost two years ago, in August 2019, after his sister Yin Yin Din called 9-1-1 over a psychiatric emergency in their Maple Ridge home. He had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
His younger sister Yin Yin was nearby when her brother was shot, and was in the blood-stained room. But she has been denied assistance from the province’s Crime Victim Assistance Program, after the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) found police did not commit a crime, when they shot the Burmese immigrant.
A letter from the Crime Victim Assistance Program said they requested and received a report from the IIO.
“At the present time, and with the information currently available on this claim, there is insufficient evidence to establish on a balance of probabilities that your brother was a victim of a prescribed criminal offence within the meaning of the Act,” it says. It is signed simply by Bruce – adjudicator.
In September 2020, the IIO completed its investigation of the incident and released a report, stating Kyaw, who was 54 at the time of his death, had been violent toward police, and the use of force was justified. No charges were recommended.
“AP (Kyaw Din) 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.”
On that basis, Yin Yin and her two other siblings were denied support by Crime Victim Assistance. Her sister and brother both took time off work for bereavement leave, but cannot recoup the lost income.
Yin Yin said her counselling sessions cost $60 per hour, and are recommended by her psychologist.
Listen Chen of the poverty advocacy group Red Braid Alliance said the decision by Crime Victim Assistance has added to the family’s “multiple layers of trauma” after their brother’s shooting, which has included over a year of waiting for the IIO to decide the police shooting was justified.
“It’s unspeakably cruel” said Chen, adding the government’s treatment of this family has been “a massive failure,” and continues to deny that they are victims.
Chen said Yin Yin’s trauma is obvious. She was only a few metres away when her brother was shot three times. Then was told to wait outside the home, not knowing what had happened, while police spent hours inside.
Yin Yin said the issue of police wrongdoing may not be officially settled, despite the IIO ruling. The family is pushing for a coroner’s inquest, and she expect it to happen in early 2022. In that process witnesses – including the four RCMP officers and two paramedics who attended – could be called to testify under oath.
“I want the truth to come out,” said Yin Yin. “The IIO is not a police watchdog, it’s a police guard dog.”
Last month, an anonymous benefactor agreed to fund 10 sessions with a counsellor for Yin Yin.
“I’m very thankful about that,” said Yin Yin.
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