British Columbia

Investigation into police shooting raises concerns

Questions are being raised about the conduct of two officers following the fatal police shooting of a man on a stabbing rampage last year in Vancouver.

Police failed to file timely accounts and interviews were tainted by watching TV reports of the incident

No charges will be laid against against the police officer who shot and killed a man on the Downtown Eastside after he went on a stabbing spree in April, 2015. (Chantal Bellrichard/CBC)

Questions are being raised about the conduct of two officers following the fatal police shooting of a man on a stabbing rampage last year in Vancouver.

According to the Independent Investigation's Office (IIO) report into the matter released Wednesday, the officer who shot and killed the man will not face charges.

But IIO investigators say the police shooting has highlighted a widespread problem with officers in B.C. failing to file timely written accounts after critical incidents.

The incident began around 5 p.m. PT, April 9, 2015 when witnesses reported  a man with a knife attacking three people near the First United Church on Gore Street.

After the man failed to comply with police orders to put down the knife, he was shot by police several times with a bean bag gun. When it failed to subdue him, he charged at the officer, who shot him several more times with bean bags.

A second officer then shot the man with a firearm, before he fled on foot down Gore Street. Then, as he attacked a woman who was trying to flee through a parkade entrance, he was fatally shot again by the same officer. 

Police slammed for not filing reports

While the IIO report cleared the three officers of wrongdoing in the shooting, it was sharply critical of two of the officers' failure to write up their reports immediately after the incident.

"Such reports are essential to ensure the integrity of criminal and administrative investigations and reviews of officer decisions to use deadly force or force likely to cause significant injury," said the report.

It also said the interviews with the two officers were tainted by delays and interruptions and by their viewing of television and other media reports of the incidents.

"As such, the statements of these officers were impacted by evidence separate and apart from their own recollections and memories of the events," said the report.

Furthermore, the IIO investigators said the failure to file a timely report was not an isolated incident

"The IIO has become aware of a pattern of problems with respect to subject officers involved in critical incidents in British Columbia failing to prepare timely duty to accounts or notes of their involvement in incidents."

"These problems have been identified with respect to multiple files involving not just the Vancouver Police Department, but also the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and two other municipal police agencies."

As result, the IIO planned to file its own compliant with the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner about the incident.

Civilian's evidence used

Despite the concerns about the officers reports and interviews, the report concluded that accounts of the incident by several eyewitnesses were enough to confirm the sequence of events.

The officers were not equipped with Tasers, the report noted.

The man was eventually identified as a 26-year-old Edmonton man who had recently arrived in the city.

The Independent Investigations Office provides civilian oversight of serious police incidents in B.C.