Crown Counsel announced today that no charges will be approved for the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) Officers involved in the June 10, 2014 shooting near Science World.
On June 10, 2014, VPD officers engaged an “active shooter” in two locations in Vancouver: initially in Yaletown and culminating at “Science World.” The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) was notified and conducted an investigation into the incident relating to the actions of the involved officers.
The Police Act requires the IIO to refer a file to Crown Counsel whenever a police officer “may have committed an offence.” (See Section 38.11 of the Police Act). In this case, based on the evidence obtained, the IIO was unable to unequivocally conclude that there was no potential that an offence may have occurred. This was due to the potential risk of harm to bystanders as a result of some of the shots fired by the officers. The fact that the involved VPD officers acted heroically that day and successfully gained control of a volatile incident that jeopardized both the safety of the public and responding officers did not eliminate the IIO’s responsibility to fulfill its mandate by making referrals to the Criminal Justice Branch as per the required referral standard.
Once Crown Counsel received the file, it has jurisdiction over the charge assessment and charge approval process. As a matter of practice, the IIO does not make recommendations to Crown Counsel as to whether charges should be approved. As such, Crown Counsel’s decision in that regard is independent of the IIO referral decision and is conclusive.
This incident involved officers who were faced with an “active shooter” in a crowded urban area. Officers were faced with significant challenges in a dynamic environment under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. In British Columbia, there are multiple officials and agencies who are responsible for reviewing police-involved critical incidents, both independently and from within the policing community.* This incident will be subject to further review and I am confident that this will ensure that police officers in British Columbia will continue to respond to difficult and dynamically unfolding critical incidents with the goal of reducing the risk of harm to the public under comparable circumstances in the future.
Chief Civilian Director
*To include the Police Services Branch of the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner and multiple officials and divisions within the Vancouver Police Department.