RCMP and Island District Emergency Response Team officers were involved in shooting and killing a man at the Departure Bay ferry terminal in Nanaimo, British Columbia on the morning of May 8, 2018. Both the Independent Investigations Office of BC, the agency that examines cases of police harm to civilians in the province, and the BC Coroners Service have been called to investigate the killing.
Initial reports, which have not been independently and autonomous confirmed, suggest that RCMP officers were attempting to arrest a man who was suspected in a car theft in another part of the province. The vehicle was reportedly stopped and the man allegedly exited when he was shot by police. He later died of the injuries inflicted by police.
One witness, former Saanich mayor Frank Leonard, who was waiting to board the ferry at the time of the killing, told CBC News that he heard several, perhaps as many as eight, shots fired.
Another witness, Ed Pearce, a former West Vancouver police officer, saw the police operation unfold and also reported hearing as many as eight shots. He also said he heard a loud bang and looked over to see a vehicle being rammed by what he believed was an Emergency Response Team vehicle. He reports that he then heard a “huge explosion” that he said sounded like a flash or stun grenade. Other witnesses also reported hearing the loud explosion.
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the body that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in British Columbia, has issued its report on the June 14, 2016 police shooting of 49-year-old Craig Andrew Ford and, as per usual exonerates the RCMP officer responsible. The IIO reports that three officers responded to a call of a man walking outside a restaurant carrying a knife in the city’s Norwell Drive area. Notably, the IIO reports that the caller said the man did not appear to be threatening anyone.
The report says one officer first encountered Ford on Country Club Drive, behind St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and he was allegedly “walking purposefully” (though it is not explained what this meant exactly A second officer then arrived in a car. As Ford began walking towards the vehicle the officer shot Ford twice. There is nothing in the report to suggest how an officer inside a police vehicle was under any threat from a man allegedly holding a knife and nothing more. There is some hint in the report that police were attempting to imply the bogus and discredited “suicide by cop” excuse.
Of note, the IIO came to its conclusion despite that fact that the officer who shot Ford declined to provide a statement or his notes. One can ask how any “investigation” has any veracity or legitimacy when it is not mandatory for Mounties under investigation to provide information, not even their notes, or to be questioned. Such is the dubious and limited nature of so-called investigations of police who kill in Canada.
Yet in spite of this the IIO felt confident in declaring: “(The officer) had to act quickly to protect himself, and had little time to weigh his options. It was reasonable for him to shoot in defense.” Again, it is not clear how shooting someone armed with no more than a knife, who is several feet from the officer who is safely inside a police vehicle can be constituted as an act of defense. It is as if the IIO is writing the officer’s own exoneration note.
The Independent Investigations Office (IIO), the agency that investigates cases of police harm to civilians in British Columbia has decided not to recommend charges against an RCMP officer who shot a 24-year-old in Port Hardy on Vancouver Island on July 8, 2015. The IIO suggested that the man made threatening comments to people and carried a small knife. There is no explanation for the total of five shots fired into the youth by the officer. The killer cop did not provide a statement to the IIO.