Ron MacDonald, the civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office, said the agency will begin tracking the ethnicity of people hurt or killed in interactions with police in B.C. (Black Press Media files)

IIO to collect data on ethnicity of those killed, injured in police encounters

The civilian-led agency investigates all police-invovled deaths and serious injuries in B.C.

The head of the agency that investigates police-involved deaths and injures in B.C. said it will now collect data on the ethnicity of “affected persons.”

The Independent Investigations Office (IIO) needs to understand the communities they are working with, including people of colour and Indigenous Canadians, said chief civilian director Ron MacDonald.

The IIO investigates all injuries and deaths that involve the police in B.C., whether RCMP or municipal officers. They look at incidents as diverse as police shootings, car crashes, drug overdoses, and medical incidents. The agency looked into whether Langley RCMP officers responded properly to 911 calls about Carson Crimeni, prior to the teen’s death in Walnut Grove last year.

But until now, they have not collected detailed data about ethnic origins of the people at the centre of the investigations.

In the first IIO annual report, for 2012/13, ethnicity of affected persons was tracked simply as “not an ethnic minority,” “visible minority,” or “Aboriginal, First Nations, or Métis,” without further distinctions. In the 2013/14 annual report, ethnicity data was not included.

More recent annual reports have included breakdowns by age and gender, but not ethnicity.

The issue of how police deal with Indigenous and visible minority citizens is in the spotlight again as the Black Lives Matter protests continue here and in the U.S.

READ MORE: Former B.C. MP calls for more RCMP oversight

READ MORE: Black MPs, senators call for government action against systemic racism

READ MORE: BC First Nation wants murder charge laid against police officer who shot Chantel Moore

Another new initiative allows the IIO to hire community liaisons who can assist with local knowledge, on a case-by-case basis.

That program was created before the death of George Floyd in Minnesota was the spark for the current wave of Black Lives Matter protests, MacDonald noted.

Having the IIO reflect the broader community it serves is important, MacDonald said, including in its personnel.

“We have a way to go on that, I won’t deny that,” he said.

IIO investigators have mandatory training to help them interact with Indigenous communities, MacDonald said.

“We are always interested in hiring people that are representative of the people of B.C.,” he said.

IIO investigators must have investigative experience, but slightly more than half have never been police officers. Some are lawyers or private investigators.

The IIO is an arms-length civilian-run body set up in 2012 to investigate all incidents where a person was killed or seriously injured during an interaction with police.

Last year, the IIO investigated 193 incidents and recommended charges against an officer or officers in six of them.

Six of the cases involved shootings by officers, three of them fatal.

There were 33 automobile crashes, five of those fatal.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

British ColumbiaLangleyPoliceRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

VIDEO: Car goes off Highway 1 and into a ditch in Chilliwack

Eastbound vehicle left the highway ending in the ditch on south side of Luckakuck Way

Guilty verdict for one of two men in large illegal marijuana grow-operation in Chilliwack

Charges dismissed against property owner where 3,200 plants, 32 kgs of dried weed found in 2017

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

Rescuers halt Coquihalla River search due to darkness, after reports of person in river

No information to indicate a child is involved, RCMP state, after this information surfaced on social media

Arrest at Abbotsford shopping centre

Man detained Thursday afternoon

VIDEO: Musqueam Chief captures captivating footage of bald eagle catching meal

‘This is why we have chosen to live here since time immemorial,’ Chief Wayne Sparrow’s nephew says

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

At least one person to hospital, both vehicles sustained significant damage

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Stop enforcing sex work laws during COVID-19, advocates say

There are provisions in Canada’s prostitution laws that make workers immune from prosecution, but not from arrest

Most Read