Man shot by police in Nanaimo may never be identified
Published Monday, May 14, 2018 6:35PM PDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 16, 2018 5:28PM PDT
A week after police shot and killed a man at a busy ferry terminal in Nanaimo, B.C., the deceased has still not been identified and may never be.
The independent police watchdog is involved, but if no wrongdoing is found on part of police then the public may never know his name.
“We believe the public has the right to know all the relevant facts behind any incident when an individual is seriously injured or killed by police,” said Ron MacDonald, chief civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office of BC.
“However … We don’t believe that the name of the individual is that relevant."
MacDonald said: “The relevant legislation that governs how the IIO conducts business is located in the Police Act and the law that governs us with respect to the privacy of our Affected Persons is the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA). FOIPPA creates a strong legal presumption against the release of any information that may tend to identify an affected person.“
The deadly police encounter played out mid-morning at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay ferry terminal on May 8. Police boxed in the man’s vehicle and then opened fire, killing him as bystanders watched.
“The male exited the vehicle with what our officers believed was a firearm and shots were fired," said Chief Supt. Sean Sullivan, Vancouver Island’s top Mountie.
The man was a suspect in a crime spree that began the day before. At noon, police responded to a call about a shooting in Vernon that sent one man to hospital with serious injuries. That evening, a suspect allegedly carjacked someone in Penticton and then drove to the Lower Mainland where he boarded a ferry to Nanaimo.
Days later, the RCMP have no plans to identify the man their officers killed.
The IIO is looking into his death, but MacDonald also says his organization will not identify the man either to protect his privacy.
"There are a lot of people who know who was killed in this case,” he said. “The important people'—his family—knows. Those who are close to him will know. We, of course, will know."
B.C.’s Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth weighed in Monday, saying he’s sure the name will be revealed when it’s appropriate.
“Right now, we have to let the process take its course,” he said.
If the IIO decides that the incident should be referred to the Crown, and if the prosecutors decide a charge should be laid, the name will be publicly available in the trial.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Ben Miljure