Thursday, September 20, 2012

Survivors of police use of force to meet in Vancouver @bccla

A group of families and friends of individuals seriously injured or killed by police will be meeting in Vancouver to discuss the formation of a new advocacy group. The group is asking families who have lost loved ones who have died in custody or as a result of police action to contact the B.C. Civil Liberties Association for an invitation to the meeting.

“I never thought I’d be a part of this group of people affected by police use of force and a lack of accountability,” said Al Wright, the father of Alvin Wright who was shot and killed by a Langley RCMP officer. “But now I’m a member of that group, and it’s important that the members of this group stick together to support each other, and to prevent similar deaths from taking place in the future. When this happens to you, you don’t know where to turn or who to trust. Families get treated like criminals, and information you hand over is used against you.”

The organization will be based in British Columbia, as B.C. has the highest per capita rate of police-involved deaths in all of Canada, but will be open to families across the country. The group already has support of the families and friends of several police shooting or in custody death victims.

“The BCCLA is pleased to bring these families together to talk about their common experiences and to facilitate their advocacy to prevent similar deaths and get justice for their loved ones,” said Lindsay Lyster of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. “We still can’t easily access statistics by detachment and department from across the country about deaths and serious injuries and how they’re caused. There is limited public discussion about how to prevent these deaths through better accountability, training, and practices. This group of family members could work to change that.”

The first meeting of the group will be in Vancouver this fall, and is open only to families and friends of people who have been killed or seriously injured by the police, or people who have been seriously injured by police. People interested in joining the group are invited to contact the B.C. Civil Liberties Association to be added to the invitation list. Participants from outside Vancouver who are unable to travel to Vancouver will be able to join and participate by online video conferencing tools.

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