Alvin Wright’s father wants independent probe

Al Wright says the agency should rethink its refusal to investigate so-called “historical” incidents.

Al Wright

Al Wright

The father of a Langley man shot and killed by an RCMP officer says the case should be investigated by the newly-created Independent Investigations Office (IIO) police oversight agency.

Al Wright, whose 22-year-old son Alvin Wright died from a police-inflicted gunshot in August of 2010, issued an open letter to the just-appointed head of the IIO, Richard Rosenthal, saying the agency should rethink its refusal to investigate so-called “historical” incidents that occur before the agency begins operating.

“This is unacceptable,” Wright said.

“In other words, you are saying that we will have to wait for another person to be killed or sexually assaulted by the police before you will begin work.”

Wright began speaking out after a review by the Vancouver Police Department decided there was no grounds for criminal charges in the Langley shooting and refused to forward a report to the Crown prosecutor’s office for charge assessment.

“Alvin had no criminal record and no mental health history or history of violence,” the father said in his letter.

“The RCMP had no search warrant and we have yet to hear what reason they may have had to be in his bedroom that night.”

He said the new police watchdog should review past cases of alleged police misconduct before they are investigated by the coroner’s office.

“Historic cases here are not historic,” Wright said.

“The issues they represent are ongoing. Officers convicted of criminal conduct are still working as police officers. Your job is to protect the public from problem police officers, because the police have failed to protect us from problem officers.”

Rosenthal, the independent police monitor for the city and county of Denver, plans to starts setting up the new B.C. office in January, and wants to have it ready to investigate deaths and serious injuries involving police starting in mid-2012.