Independent Investigations Office
For Immediate Release
Surrey, B.C. – The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) of BC confirms that it has appointed an Indigenous Civilian Monitor to examine its investigation into the death of a man in Opitsaht on Meares Island.
The Civilian Monitor, Acting Chief Thomas George of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, will receive unfettered access to all investigative materials, including all evidence and statements collected, and the IIO’s investigative team will provide any assistance requested.
“On behalf of the IIO, I thank the leadership of the Tla-o-qui-aht people for working in partnership with us to establish the first Indigenous Civilian Monitor to examine an IIO investigation. The IIO is committed to the goals outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and BC’s Declaration Act Action Plan, and we believe this is another step in the right direction to building trust and confidence in the IIO among Indigenous Peoples and communities,” said Chief Civilian Director Ronald J. MacDonald, QC. “I look forward to Chief George’s report at the conclusion of his review and commit to undertaking any additional considerations, evidence, or avenues of investigation he identifies through his valuable lived experience.”
“I reaffirm that Chief George’s final report will be made publicly available when appropriate in keeping with the IIO’s reporting practices. I appreciate that the time it has taken to arrive at this point was lengthy as our office undertook necessary work to develop a new agreement for this collaborative approach in identifying a candidate. I thank the family of the affected person, the Opitsaht community, and the public for their patience while we navigated this process. I also thank the IIO team who have worked hard to make this appointment a reality.”
At approximately 9:30 p.m. on February 27, 2021, members of the Tofino RCMP responded to a report of a woman being held against her will at a residence on Meares Island.
The incident resulted in one man being shot and killed by officers. The woman was taken to hospital for medical assessment, and another man was taken into custody.
The IIO is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death.
The IIO is the independent civilian oversight agency of the police in British Columbia. It investigates all officer-related incidents that result in serious harm or death, whether or not there is any allegation of wrongdoing.