More help needed for mental health patients: Jury
The coroner's jury examining the death of 24-year old Christopher Klim has delivered seven recommendations aimed at improving interaction between police and mental health patients.
Klim family lawyer James Cotter says the family is satisfied with the findings.
On Dec. 27, 2007, five Vernon RCMP officers broke into Klim's apartment to arrest him on a mental health warrant.
Klim was not taking his medication for schizophrenia at the time and officers say he charged at them with a knife. Klim was shot twice after a Taser failed to incapacitate him. Earlier this week, the inquest heard that Klim was shot by two different RCMP members. The first shot caused him to double over before the second fatal shot went through his chest.
Appropriate use of force?
Shirley Klim, Cristopher's aunt, told CTV News she didn't agree with the amount of force used.
"When you've got someone who is suicidal -- if in fact he was -- you've got to talk to them gentle and not barge in on them," she said. "If they're on edge, they're going to jump right?"
Two separate police investigations have supported the police actions.
"Both the Southeast District Major Crimes unit and the independent officer review found that the force used in this case was appropriate," says RCMP spokesperson Const. Annie Linteau.
Six of the jury's recommendations were made to the Ministry of Health, as well as one to the solicitor general. The jury reached its verdict after deliberating for two hours.
Vernon RCMP Insp. Steve McVarnock said there are no winners or losers when such a tragic incident occurs.
"A young man's lost his life. A family has lost a young one. And five police officers are going to carry this for the rest of their lives too," McVarnock said.
Better communication with mental health patients
McVarnock said that since the incident, his detachment has enhanced its communication with mental health agencies.
Twenty witnesses testified at the inquest. The last to take the stand was Klim's mother, Karen Bulwer.
Bulwer said that during the inquest, the police tried to make her son look like he was a bad person.
She said she believes her son was scared and confused when officers burst into his apartment and had no intention of hurting anyone.
"Why did they shoot him when he was down?" she said. "I'm just in shock."
Const. Colin Curtis testified that officers feared for Klim's life when he didn't answer his phone or a knock on his door.
A battering ram was then used to enter the residence.
With a report from The Canadian Press