An unidentified man apparently remains in hospital as a result of injuries sustained while members of the Vancouver Police Department “attempted to subdue” him a month ago.  The circumstances of this matter, which ought to concern members of the public, remain mysterious and neither the VPD nor the Independent Investigations Office (the new provincial agency created to investigate incidents of serious harm arising from police involvement) is saying anything.  A cryptic IIO news release from January 15, 2013 raises more questions than it answers:

“At approximately 11:30 AM on Dec. 30, 2012, the VPD attended a residence in response to a complaint.  Once there, officers located a 26 year old male who was reportedly distressed and exhibiting aggressive behaviour.  Police attempted to subdue the man in order to transport him to hospital.  During the altercation with officers, the man sustained injuries and was admitted to hospital where he remains.

The IIO was notified at 12:30 PM on Dec. 31, 2012.  At that time, the extent of the man’s injuries was not clear. Over the following days, IIO investigative staff met with the affected person’s family and medical team to determine if his injuries met the statutory definition of “serious harm”.

On Jan. 10, 2013, upon further review of the information, the Chief Civilian Director asserted jurisdiction.  Eleven IIO staff have been assigned including the Senior Investigator, Affected Persons who will provide support to the man and his family…..No further information is available at this time.”


Who is this man?  Has he been charged with any offence?  Was he breaking any law when he was “subdued”?  Is he still in hospital today, a full month later?  What are his injuries?  Why did the VPD wait thirteen hours to report the matter to the IIO, when the law requires “immediate” notification?

The police are accountable to the public, at least in theory.  The public deserves a full accounting in this serious matter and we deserve it now.  The IIO was never intended to be something the police could use to cloak their actions in secrecy.  If that is what is going to happen, we need to revisit its very existence.