Thursday, November 10, 2011

Family of Alvin Wright to hold rally at RCMP HQ in Vancouver

Family of Alvin Wright to hold rally at RCMP HQ in Vancouver: The family of Alvin Wright is holding a rally at RCMP Headquarters at Heather Street and 37th Ave in Vancouver on Sunday at 10:00 a.m.

Wright's family still has not had access to any of the details of Alvin's death, which took place over a year and a half ago. The rally is to demand access to the investigation file and to demand an end to police self-investigation in B.C.

The Province has long-promised to establish an independent civilian agency to do these investigations; however, they have already acknowledged they will miss their own implementation deadline of the end of 2011 for the new agency to be operational.

The Vancouver Police Department investigation into Wright's death did not result in any criminal charges being recommended against the involved RCMP officers, and now, pursuant to a special one-time agreement, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner is reviewing the file to see if they can find any problems with the VPD investigation or decision not to recommend charges.

The case is another classic example of the problems with police accountability in this province. Because Wright lived in an RCMP jurisdiction and the VPD did not recommend charges, if the one-time agreement on this file hadn't been reached, there would have been no review of the VPD investigation by anyone. If Wright had lived in a municipality with its own force, the file would automatically be reviewed by the Police Complaint Commissioner.

This whole issue stems from the Criminal Justice Branch (prosecutors) in B.C. refusing to accept what they call "neutral" police investigation files that don't recommend charges. The Province has not stepped in to remedy this issue for RCMP communites. Yet.

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