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LETTER: Dragged out investigation further traumatized victims’ families

Current oversight of police in Canada inadequate, despite IIO, criminology prof says
Yin Yin Din, sister of Kyaw Din who was shot by police, told her version of what happened on Aug. 11 when her brother was killed. (Neil Corbett/THE NEWS)

Dear Editor,

[RE: Investigation into Maple Ridge police shooting taking too long says family’s lawyer, July 23, The News]

The lack of effective oversight and accountability when police kill serves to further traumatize and victimize loved ones and family members of victims of police violence.

The case of the RCMP shooting of Kyaw Naing Din, and the added stress for family waiting almost a year for investigation results, shows this.

Unfortunately, this case also reveals the limitations of police oversight in Canada.

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) is not fully independent, relying on police for training and including former officers in the unit.

In addition, there are no means to compel officers who kill or who witness police killings to cooperate with investigative interviews, for example.

RELATED: Sister mourns brother who died in police shooting in Maple Ridge

In some cases, police do not turn over need information to investigators. In fact, the IIO had to take Vancouver police to court recently to get information they had requested.

Many are calling for health care supports, rather than police, in aiding people experiencing mental health distress.

One might suggest that communities would expect health care providers to be held to greater accountability processes than police currently are.

Dr. Jeff Shantz, department of criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University



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