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

Cloverdale students make puzzles for care home residents

Students from Cloverdale’s Sunrise Ridge delivered gifts to seniors and thank you notes to first responders

Semiahmoo Peninsula girls to host Black Lives Matter fundraiser

‘We are doing this because the world is full of systemic racism,’ organizer Sabine Lapointe said

Community fruit harvest program returns to Surrey, White Rock

Sources will send a team to harvest fruit trees, so less goes to waste

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

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

East White Rock crosswalk, speed bumps proposed

Report on costs and implications requested by council

Man charged in Rideau Hall crash had rifle, shotguns, high-capacity magazine: RCMP

Hurren is accused of threatening to cause death or bodily harm to the prime minister

B.C. extends income assistance exemption for COVID-19

Provincial program to match Ottawa’s CERB, student pay

Broadway veteran Nick Cordero dies from coronavirus complications

During Cordero’s hospitalization, Kloots sent him daily videos of her and their 1-year-old son, Elvis,

Northern communities welcome tourists as province opens to in-B.C. travellers

Officials have asked British Columbians to be careful as they travel this summer

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

Most Read