British Columbia RCMP shot and killed a man who has been identified by family members as Kyaw Din (54) at a Maple Ridge home on August 11, 2019. The killing took place at a home in the area of Colemore Street and 124 Avenue.
Family members have spoken publicly to say that the victim had a history of mental illness and had been between hospital and home over a period of some time. His brother Thant Din reports that Kyaw Din had forgotten or refused to take his medication the Sunday he was killed. According to Din: “In the past, my sister would call police, and police would come and take him to hospital. So today my sister called police, but he didn’t want to go” (quoted in Boynton 2019).
Din reports that his brother had barricaded himself in his room and refused to leave when police arrived. He says that his sister asked that he and other siblings come to come to Maple Ridge from Coquitlam to help translate between their brother and police (Boynton 2019).
Din recalls the frustration of conversations with police. In his words: “My sister told police, ‘Don’t do anything, they’re 15 minutes away, they’re on their way.’ When we show up, there’s police tape and we can’t go inside” (quoted in Boynton 2019).
He expresses his horror over police actions toward his brother: “They shot him. They shot him point blank. They unnecessarily killed someone” (quoted in Boynton 2019).
Kyaw Din’s sister Yin Yin reports that she was told by police to wait outside the home. She then heard three shots. Incredibly, three officers came outside of the home “about an hour later,” but left the scene before she could talk with them (Boynton 2019).
She reports publicly her conversation with police: “They asked me if my brother has a gun. He doesn’t have a gun. He doesn’t have a knife. He’s just in the room and I told the police he has a glass bottle that he might throw at you. I don’t want you to get hurt and I don’t want the police to shoot my brother” (quoted in Holliday 2019).
She insists that police deceived her and the family: “They lied to me. They promised me, ‘we would never shoot your brother, we deal with this all the time,’ and they shot him” (quoted in Boynton 2019).
She is left only to ponder, in sorrow: “For no reason, they shot him. Can you imagine? Brother was doing housework in the morning and now he is dead” (quoted in Holliday 2019)
Thant Din Thant tells reporters that his brother was sometimes loud and confrontational when not taking his medicine, but he never saw Kyaw Din become violent. According to Thant Din: “He never hit anybody. He might be screaming and yelling, but he never hit anybody” (quoted in Holliday 2019).
Thant Din is angry and wants to see police held accountable for what happened. As he puts it, poignantly: “We’re heartbroken. To have a mentally ill person shot in his own home? It’s terrible” (quoted in Boynton 2019).
It has been reported by the Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the unit that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, that police officers also used a taser on the victim.
Police across Canada kill numerous people experiencing mental health issues every. Cops should not be responding to people in mental health crisis and resources should be moved from police to mental health and health care supports and resources.
Boynton, Sean. 2019. “Police Watchdog Investigating Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting in Maple Ridge.” Global News August 11. https://globalnews.ca/news/5753550/maple-ridge-officer-involved-shooting/
Holliday, Ian. 2019. “IIO Investigating after Police Shoot Mentally Ill Man in Maple Ridge.” CTV News August 11. https://bc.ctvnews.ca/iio-investigating-after-police-shoot-mentally-ill-man-in-maple-ridge-1.4545247