British Columbia

Family of brother killed by police wants officers to be charged

Kyaw Naing Din was killed by police last August in his Maple Ridge residence. He would have turned 55 on Thursday.

Kyaw Naing Din, 54, was killed by police last August at his home in Maple Ridge

Kyaw Naing Maung, 54, is pictured in this undated photograph with one of his sisters. (Submitted by Yin Yin Hla Ma)

On the day he would have turned 55, the family of a man shot dead by Mounties in Maple Ridge, B.C., last summer presented a petition to the civilian oversight agency investigating his death.

It included four stark demands: fire Supt. Jennifer Hyland, head of Ridge Meadows RCMP detachment; fire all officers involved in the death of Din and charge them with murder; stop sending police to mental health calls; and, call a coroner's inquiry into Din's death.

"The family's four demands are the least that can be done to respond to the RCMP's murder of Kyaw Din," reads the petition, which the family says received hundreds of signatures in Canada and abroad. 

Fifty-four-year-old Kyaw Naing Din, also known as Kyaw Naing Maung, died in an encounter with RCMP in the Fraser Valley community on Aug. 11, 2019.

Gayle Hogan, chief of investigations with the Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the province's police watchdog, accepted the petition. 

The IIO continues to examine the case and Hogan said the agency's chief civilian director, Ronald McDonald, will make a final decision about whether charges should be lald. 

She said the agency understands the motivation behind the petition.

"Each family grieves in their own way," Hogan told CBC News. 

Speaking to media on Thursday, Thant Din, the victim's older brother, asked the same question he's had since last summer: "Why [did] police kill my brother?"

 "We are heartbroken."

On the day he was killed, one of Din's sisters had called police to the home she shared with her brother and another sibling to assist in bringing Din, who suffered from schizophrenia, to the hospital for medical treatment. In the past, the family had called police to assist their brother for the same reason and received assistance.

Police have said Din had a knife, and that they used a stun gun on him before an officer shot him. Din's siblings say they've also been told by the RCMP that an officer opened fire after Din threw a dumbbell at them.

But his family insists Din was sitting peacefully in his room holding only a glass bottle at the time. According to his siblings, police entered Din's bedroom against his sister's advice, tasered him and then shot him three times, including twice in the head.

"He's not going to attack police," said Thant Din. "He admired police." The deceased's brother said Din collected police memorabilia.

"We don't buy that story from police at all."

Hla Myaing Ma, Din's older sister, said she and her two brothers were minutes away from the house when the police shot their brother. They wanted to help translate between law enforcement and Din, who spoke Burmese and knew few English words. 

On Thursday, his sister told media she believed Din's status as a "poor" immigrant played a role in the police's decision-making on Aug. 11.

"If my brother is rich and white [...] I think they're not going to shoot," she said. 

In November, the family requested the B.C. Coroners Service begin a separate inquest into the death. At the time, Andy Watson, spokesperson for the Coroners Service, said that any decision about a coroner's inquest will have to wait until after the IIO investigation is wrapped up.

Under the B.C. Coroners Act, an inquest must be held in almost all cases where someone dies while in police custody.

With files from Chad Pawson and Bethany Lindsay


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