British Columbia

More than a year after his death, family of B.C. man shot dead by RCMP waits for answers

The family of a B.C. immigrant with mental health issues who was killed by RCMP at his home in Maple Ridge say they're still waiting for answers about what happened to him, more than a year after his death. 

Kyaw Naing Din, who had schizophrenia, was shot in his home in Maple Ridge in 2019

The Din family at a news conference Friday morning. Family members say they have waited too long to find out what happened to their brother, Kyaw Naing Din, who was killed by police more than a year ago. (CBC)

The family of a B.C. immigrant with mental health issues who was killed by RCMP at his home in Maple Ridge say they're still waiting for answers about what happened to him, more than a year after his death. 

Kyaw Naing Din, 54, was shot by police on Aug. 11, 2019, after his sister Yin Yin Hla Ma called 911 for help taking him to hospital when he failed to recognize her and was threatening to hit her.

The family has called for a coroner's inquest into the matter, but the Independent Investigations Office of B.C., which investigates police-involved injuries and deaths, must first produce a report. 

"We are very disappointed because every day we are grieving," said Din's sister, Ma at a media event on Friday. 

The family is calling for Insp. Jennifer Hyland,  the officer in charge of the Ridge Meadows RCMP detachment, to be fired. They want the same for the officer who killed Din, whose name they still don't know and for the officer to be charged with murder. The family also wants RCMP to stop sending police to mental health calls. 

The family says Din was killed because of systemic discrimination against people with mental health illnesses, and because he was a low-income immigrant and person of colour.

Shooting circumstances disputed

Ridge Meadows RCMP did not respond to requests for comment. 

The circumstances leading up to the shooting are a matter of dispute. Police have said Din had a knife, and that they used a stun gun on him before an officer shot him. The family alleges that two Mounties entered Din's bedroom against Ma's advice, even after other officers had determined the issue was medical, not criminal. 

Kyaw Naing Maung, 54, is pictured in this undated photograph with his sister, Myaing Dinsay. (Submitted by Yin Yin Hla Ma)

According to the family, Din had schizophrenia, spoke little English and had previous, uneventful encounters with police. He came to Canada from Myanmar as an adult with his brother and two sisters.

On Friday, Ma said the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. has been in touch with the family but has yet to produce a report. She said the IIO promised them the findings would be released by the anniversary of Din's death.

Investigation delayed because of COVID-19: IIO

Ron MacDonald, chief civilian director of the IIO, told CBC News he expects the report to be ready in September.

The investigation has been delayed because of the pandemic, MacDonald said, and because of a high volume of cases in the past 18 months. 

"There never has been a promise made to the family about when this would be completed," MacDonald said, adding that the IIO has been in frequent contact with the family with updates on the investigation.

In a written statement, the B.C. Coroners Office said it's conducting a concurrent investigation into Din's death, but it can't move forward until the IIO concludes its investigation. 

The service said it will see if an inquest is required after the IIO's investigation concludes. In B.C., the coroner's service said, deaths in the custody of police usually do move to an inquest. 

 

About the Author

Maryse Zeidler

@MaryseZeidler

Maryse Zeidler is a reporter for CBC News in Vancouver, covering news from across British Columbia. You can reach her at maryse.zeidler@cbc.ca.

With files from Tina Lovgreen and Bethany Lindsay

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