WATCH: B.C’s police watchdog has finished its report into last year’s dramatic shooting in Yaletown. And a former VPD officer says some officers are upset that the IIO is sending the report to Crown counsel. Kristen Robinson reports.
SURREY, B.C. – The Independent Investigations Office has forwarded a report to Crown counsel into a downtown Vancouver shootout previously described by a senior officer as “extraordinary.”
The IIO says its acting chief civilian director has completed an investigation and determined an officer may have committed an offence.
The mayhem began June 10, 2014, when plainclothes officers witnessed a shooting outside of a downtown coffee shop that left the victim fighting for his life.
B.C. police watchdog under fire for Yaletown shooting
Deputy police chief Doug LePard said at the time officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect at the scene and then at a family and tourist attraction called Science World after a brief bike chase along a seawall.
He called the incident extraordinary at the time and something he had never seen in his 33-year career.
Leo Knight, an ex-police officer who writes about law enforcement issues for the blog Crime and Punishment, says the IIO has upset a number of current and former officers.
“Deputy chief Doug LePard sent out a message to all of his members essentially saying that the department fully supports the actions of members,” said Knight. “He called them courageous.”
Paul Dragan, the victim in the shooting, also supports the officers.
“Obviously, I don’t think there needs to be an investigation into how they acted,” he said.
The IIO won’t say whether its report involves the actions of VPD members who were involved in the shootout at Science World or earlier in the incident. The IIO says it is legislated to file a report to Crown where it appears an officer may have violated the law. Often the Crown will issue a clear statement that no charges will be forthcoming.
For Dragan, the decision is clear.
“From the first shot to the last shot, they did it the way they were trained and nobody died,” he said.
-With files from Canadian Press