A group of BC Indigenous leaders are calling for a public inquiry and immediate “institutional change” after a man died following an “interaction” with Vancouver police.
The BC Indian Chiefs Coalition claims police officers’ actions led to the death of 42-year-old Chris Amiyot on Aug. 22 in the Downtown Eastside.
“The Coalition of Indian Chiefs of British Columbia has committed to a swift, transparent and transformative effort, including a public inquiry into the death of Chris Amiyot and the systematic changes to the VPD, particularly its approach to Indigenous Peoples and residents of the Downtown East Side. We are asking for a prompt response,” the group said in a news release.
Police said officers responded to reports of a man “behaving erratically” around 8 a.m. in East Hastings Street and Dunlevy.
“After an interaction with police, the man was taken into custody. He then fell into medical distress and lost consciousness,” the ministry said in a news release at the time. , the man died on the spot.”
Man dies after ‘interacting’ with Vancouver police in downtown Eastside
Man dies after ‘interaction’ with downtown Vancouver police
Witnesses told Global News that Amiotte was attacked with bear spray, stripped of his clothes, and was pouring milk on himself to ease the pain.Police shot him multiple times with a bean bag gun. They also said a large group of people had gathered on the sidewalk trying to tell officers that he was acting like that because he was exposed to bear spray.
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Amiyot’s cousin, Samantha Wilson, later told Global News that she was shot four more times in the back with a beanbag gun when she failed to reach the ground as ordered.
Members of Winnipeg’s Rolling River First Nation traveled to Vancouver to visit their two children and other relatives, Wilson said.
Family identifies Winnipeg father as man killed in ‘interaction’ with Vancouver police
BC’s civilian-led Police Observatory was called to investigate whether the actions or inactions of officers contributed to his death.
In response to a request for comments on the UBCIC statement, VPD Const. Tania Visintin published more information about the incident on her Global News.
The agency could not provide specific details about the situation, but a man was reportedly involved in a “violent incident” and was walking around asking for help, but no one asked for help. she said she could say Irregular and “makes people feel unsafe”.
“Police tried to contact the man. [a beanbag gun] Deployed,” Visintin said. “The man was taken into custody and suffered medical distress shortly after. [a]Attempts by police and paramedics to resuscitate the man were unsuccessful. ”
Beanbags, she said, are a “safe and effective tool” to be used as an option for medium-range forces. “It is an alternative to lethal force when an officer encounters a person exhibiting violent or aggressive behavior.”
Man dies in ‘interaction’ with Vancouver police
The VPD does not show a ‘probative link’ between Amiyot’s cause of death and police actions,” Visintin added.
UBCIC also called for shifting funds from police services to de-escalation and trauma-informed, culturally safe services. “This will ensure that those who are suffering receive compassion and support rather than violence, death, further oppression and confiscation.”
Video of the incident has not been released, and Global News has not been able to independently verify the details of the eyewitness testimony.
– With files by Simon Little
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