The first meeting of an advocacy group for families whose loved ones have been killed by police or while in police custody brought together some high profile names on Nov. 25.
The group, which Al Wright helped organize after the police-shooting death of his son Alvin in Langley in 2010, is called Families for Police Accountability.
The group includes Zofia Cisowski, the mother of Robert Dziekanski who was Tasered in 2007 by RCMP at Vancouver International Airport; Linda Bush, mother of Ian Bush who was shot in the head while in an interview room at the Houston, B.C. detachment; the family of Frank Paul; and David Boyd, whose son Paul was shot nine times by a Vancouver Police officer in 2007.
New video of his death has surfaced, calling into question police accounts of his death.
The sister of Greg Matters was also at the meeting. Matters was shot and killed by police recently in Prince George. It is the first case the Independent Investigation Office (IIO) is investigating.
“There were a lot of common threads,” said Wright about the first meeting.
“A common theme is the families don’t trust police, the IIO, or the OPCC (Office of the Police Complaints Commission).
“We, as an advocacy group, are from a non-police base 100 per cent. We are the common citizens who have already been through that experience.”
He wishes he’d had a support group like this when his son was killed.
“It’s the middle of the night when the families are dealing with the loss, usually at the police station, and our advice is not to speak to anyone except maybe a lawyer.”
Wright co-operated fully with police after learning his son was killed and encouraged his other son, who was there at the shooting, to be interviewed by police.
He wouldn’t do that again, he said.
He is still hoping the OPCC will re-open the investigation into his son’s death after new forensic evidence came to light at the coroner’s inquest into his son’s death. Prior to the inquest, the OPCC had cleared RCMP Sgt. Don Davidson of any wrong-doing in the shooting. Police accounts of that fateful evening say Alvin came at Davidson in his bedroom carrying a hunting knife, when he was shot and killed.
Pictures taken by police of the room show a hunting knife on the floor.
“Our mandate is to comfort the next victims, which we already did with the family of Greg Matters,” he said.
To get in touch with the group call the B.C. Civil Liberties Association at 604-687-2919.