Independent Investigations Office
For Immediate Release
Surrey – The Independent Investigations Office of B.C has become aware of a news item in the Vancouver media in which the reporter says that “there was some [police] inaction previous to [the finding by an RCMP member of the boy] that has them concerned“. This is in regard to the IIO investigation – IIO Notified of Incident in Langley (2019-141)
To be clear, no one at the IIO has made such a comment. Nor does the comment accurately reflect the IIO’s position.
The reason the IIO is involved is due to the fact that police were in the area around the time the young man was suffering from the issues that led to his death. We are investigating to determine whether any action or inaction on the part of the police played a role in his death.
In all cases of which we are notified, the IIO investigates specifically to determine whether the actions or inactions of police may have been a contributory cause of serious harm or death. We do not require a specific allegation of wrongdoing. If we find there was such an action or inaction, we will then determine whether there are reasonable grounds to believe an offence was committed by a police officer.
In this case we have no specific allegation of inaction. Just as importantly, there is nothing we are “concerned” about. Rather, we are investigating because the statute requires us to do so, not because we are concerned. Our investigation will determine whether there was any action or inaction. At this point, we are gathering evidence in an attempt to determine this.
Once an investigation is complete, the IIO is then able to let the public know the conclusion. Until that point details of the investigation are potential evidence, and considered confidential.
We have asked that the notion the IIO is “concerned”, as well as any suggestion that we have information about specific inaction of police, be removed from the offending media report. Such suggestions could potentially lead the public to draw conclusions before an investigation has taken place and cause distress for all individuals involved with the incident.
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.