After his 22-year-old son Alvin Wright died from a police-inflicted gunshot, father Al Wright said the family kept quiet and stayed out of the media spotlight because they trusted the investigation by the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) would bring justice.
That changed after the VPD decided there was no grounds for criminal charges in the Aug. 2010 incident and refused to forward a report to the Crown prosecutor’s office for charge assessment.
On Sunday, about 100 people protested that decision outside the B.C. regional headquarters of the RCMP in Vancouver.
“Responsibility, accountability, that’s what the people want” they chanted.
Al Wright was one of the speakers.
“Justice for Alvin is what we want and justice for everyone is what we need,” he told the Times following the rally.
“Something’s got to change”
He said if his son had died in a workplace accident, the case would have received a more thorough investigation than the one the VPD carried out.
Wright warned the Langley shooting and other recent incidents of police misconduct have eroded public faith in law enforcement, particularly the RCMP.
He welcomed the announcement on Friday that the provincial office of the police complaint commissioner will finally have a limited power to investigate the RCMP.
“Its a step in the right direction,” he said.
Family and supporters at the Sunday rally said police forces must stop investigating each other.
Alvin’s uncle, Matthew Landry told CTV News the Mounties must be held accountable.
“They live by their own rules. That can’t stand,” he said .
“As the public, we’re fed up with police investigating police,” Alvin’s aunt Laurie Schildt told CTV.
BC Civil Liberties Association director David Eby also spoke at the rally.
Eby said the provincial government needs to get going on its promise to create a new independent investigations office to probe all serious police incidents in British Columbia, rather than having police investigate police.
“They said it would be in place for this year, but they haven’t hired someone. They’re simply not moving fast enough,” Eby said.
– with files from CTV News