A comment from Vancouver's new police chief on the shooting of a man on Granville Street Monday night has drawn criticism from a legal activist.
Police Chief Jim Chu provided few details about the shooting during his first official day on the job Tuesday, but he defended the officers' actions.
"This happened in a matter of seconds, our officers are trained quite well and they took what option they had to take," said Chu.
The Pivot Legal Society's John Richardson said Tuesday the chief should not be commenting on the police shooting of a man beforean investigation is complete.
"These investigators report to the chief. If he is already saying that the amount of force is justified, how are those investigators going to feel the freedom to find otherwise, if their boss is already telling them what the outcome is?" said Richardson.
More calls for independent investigation of police
The chief's commentshave renewed calls for the formation of an independent body to investigate police. High-profile Vancouver defence lawyer Phil Rankin said police should not be investigating police.
"I think there needs to be a special force which is independent of any provincial force, [which has] the legal right to subpoena and does an external investigation. I don't believe the internal investigation is satisfactory," said Rankin on Tuesday.
Ontario and at least two other provinces have formed independent units that investigate police incidents, and Richardson and Phil Rankin both say it's time B.C. did the same.
"There's kind of obvious questions about objectivity and fairness that arise," said Richardson.
Former officer denies police inexperience an issue
Police said the 39-year-old man who was shot andkilled on South Granville Monday hadswung a chain and padlock at officers when they tried to handcuff him, knocking one officer unconscious and injuring another.
Shortly afterward he was shot by another officer, one with about three years of experience. Thename of the 39-year-old man shot Monday has not yet been released.
Because of a large number of recent retirements and new hires, nearly half of Vancouver's police force currently has less than five years of experience.
But aformer RCMP and Vancouver police officer says it's wrong to conclude inexperience led to the shooting of the man on South Granville Monday, just because it was a young officer who pulled the trigger.
Private security consultant Leo Knight agrees the large number of young officers on the force means less experience on the streets, but he says it's just an outcome of the law of probability that recent police shootings involve junior members.
Knight notes that it was an experienced officer who was injured by the man initially.
"In practical reality, the officer who was knocked unconscious by the man who got shot had 17 years' experience," he said.