Pivot Legal Society launches civil lawsuit against the Vancouver Police for the fatal shooting of Tony Du

Vancouver, B.C., [February 9] – This afternoon Douglas King, lawyer and police accountability campaigner with Pivot Legal Society, announced plans to pursue civil action on behalf of the Du family against the Vancouver Police in connection to the fatal shooting of a 51-year-old man living with mental illness.

Crown has decided to not charge the Vancouver Police officer who shot and killed Tony Du in 2014 based on a report by the Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO); therefore, Pivot Legal will be pursuing justice for the family in the civil realm, seeking a ruling of wrongful death.

“The IIO investigation revealed Tony Du was shot by an officer between 18 – 25 seconds after police arrived,” said King. “The investigation leaves us with a lot of questions on why officers so quickly resorted to deadly force on a man in mental health crisis, who witnesses reported was not presenting as a threat.”

Improving police accountability

Pivot Legal is extremely concerned about key information missing from the IIO’s investigation which formed the basis of Crown’s decision to not pursue charges. The Crown’s statement failed to mention: 

  • accurate timelines describing the order of events that occurred on the night of November 22, 2014 when Du was shot and killed;
  • consideration of the height and weight differential between 51-year-old Du and the police officers who engaged him;
  • a description or photograph of the “wooden board” Du was carrying and to what degree it could be considered a weapon; and
  • what type of de-escalation training the officers would have received through the mandatory Crisis Intervention Training course, and whether or not that training was followed.

In addition to the Crown’s incomplete report, Pivot is also upset with the IIO’s decision to contract a retired VPD officer as a “use-of-force expert” to offer an opinion on whether or not the force used by the officer was excessive. This undermines the independence of the investigation, and was ultimately used by Crown to justify their decision not to charge the man who shot Mr. Du.

Tony Du, 51, suffered from Schizophrenia and was shot and killed by a Vancouver Police officer in November of 2014 while walking down Knight Street hitting a fence with a wooden board. He had no criminal record or history of violence. Lien Chan, Tony Du’s sister, is distraught upon hearing the decision of Crown, and says the justice system has, up to this point, failed her family.

Contact

Peter Kim, Communications & Digital Engagement Coordinator

604-229-6128, peter@pivotlegal.org

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About Pivot Legal Society

Pivot Legal Society is a leading Canadian human rights organization that uses the law to address the root causes of poverty and social exclusion in Canada. Pivot’s award winning work includes challenging laws and policies that force people to the margins of society and keep them there. Since 2002 Pivot has won major victories for sex workers’ rights, police accountability, affordable housing, and health and drug policy.