Watchdog rules police didn't commit an offence in deadly shooting of man with mental illness
VANCOUVER -- Warning: Some may find the photo included below showing a knife to be disturbing.
Consideration of charges will not be recommended against officers involved in the shooting death of a man with mental illness, B.C.'s police watchdog says.
Kyaw Din was fatally shot on Aug. 11, 2019, inside a home in Maple Ridge.
A report released Thursday from the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. says officers were told there was a "domestic in progress," and when they got to the home, were informed that nothing physical had happened.
The IIO report outlines what is alleged to have happened, based on accounts from Din's family, civilian witnesses, two paramedics and three police officers, as well as recordings of the 911 call and other audio, evidence from the scene and various reports and records.
The officer behind the shot that killed the 54-year-old opted not to provide evidence, the IIO report says.
Police were told the man was not taking medication for schizophrenia, and that he wanted to "hit" the 911 caller. The person then said they just wanted help taking Din to the hospital – an account in the report that echoes how Din's sister described her 911 call to media previously.
According to accounts provided to the IIO, when police arrived, they were told, "He is now fine and he is peaceful and he is quiet in his room, sitting in the chair in his room."
Police were told he didn't speak English, but that he'd said he didn't want to go to the hospital.
Police called for an ambulance, and waited until it arrived.
It's alleged that the man then started saying he was "being attacked by lasers and radiation," and became angry.
Officers say when the door to Din's bedroom was opened, they saw he was holding something. The woman who'd called officers to the home said it was likely a glass bottle or jar, but also said he carried around a three-inch knife, though she didn't think he'd use it in an aggressive manner.
More family members were called to help with the situation, but police officers said they didn't think it was safe to wait, and that it could make things worse.
A Taser was deployed by officers who say they knew he had something in his hand, but weren't sure what it was.
They say the space was too small to use pepper spray, and that they believed the man had the potential to hurt someone.
Accounts vary about what happened next, and whether he had a knife and was behaving violently at the time he was shot.
Witness accounts describe hearing multiple gunshots or popping noises, and photos of the scene included in the IIO report showed a paring knife on the blood spattered floor of a bedroom in the home.
A toxicology report found no alcohol or illicit drugs in Din's system. The autopsy report showed Din had three gunshot wounds: to the left cheek, right chest and left side of his head.
There was no evidence the shots were fired at close range, the IIO said.
The watchdog report described Din has "suffering from paranoid delusions" at the time, and said there were attempts at negotiation that were unsuccessful.
Under the Mental Health Act, police are authorized to use force to take a person to a doctor if the person appears to have a mental disorder and is acting in a way that suggest they may harm themselves or people around them.
The IIO said it was clear Din needed help, but that there was no suggestion the knife was present for anything other than an innocent purpose.
Still, the office wrote, had police known a knife attack was possible before arriving at the scene, they may have prepared for and entered the situation differently, but they were surprised, and that "changed matters very quickly."
It announced Thursday it would not be recommending the consideration of charges to Crown counsel in the case.
Director Ron MacDonald wrote he did not consider that there were reasonable grounds to believe an officer may have committed an offence.
Additionally, MacDonald's report said Din's loved ones have publicly accused the officers of numerous serious offences, including that they deliberately planned the death and staged the scene.
"This report will not analyze the perhaps understandable emotions that give rise to these allegations, other than to say that the evidence is entirely inconsistent with those positions," he wrote.