Vancouver police criticized for deaths

originally published by:
27th January 2010

Police-led investigations of deaths that occur in police custody are inherently flawed, with normal procedures thrown out the window, punitive actions rarely being taken, and officers existing “above the law.”

That’s according to a panel of experts organized by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), who at a Vancouver forum last Thursday called for immediate reform by replacing police-lead investigations with civilian teams.

Change is most desperately needed in British Columbia, panel members say, where a number of civilian deaths in police custody have prompted public outcry. In all of these cases, no officers have been charged, with some only facing a few days suspended leave as punishment.

According to Cameron Ward, a Vancouver-based lawyer who has represented over a dozen families who have lost loved ones in police custody in B.C., no police officer has ever been prosecuted for the death resulting from the application of force…

The police are essentially above the law… There’s no recognition of the mistakes that are made and there’s a sense of impunity… There is no justice.”

Read full article >