Wright father asks for review of RCMP failures in son’s death

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The file on the shooting death of Alvin Wright at the hands of Langley RCMP is under review again. The Police Complaint Commissioner wrote in his last report: “Should further relevant information become available through the Coroner’s Inquest, my office is open to further review this matter.” Al Wright, father of Alvin Wright, has asked the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner to look at information revealed at the Coroner’s Inquest.

“The OPCC invited the Wright family to get back to them after the Inquest, and now they have,” said David Eby, BCCLA lawyer for Al Wright. “The OPCC must not close this file until all of the evidence has been reviewed. They must ensure they’re making their decisions based on all of the available information.”

The BCCLA and Al Wright say that the OPCC report is deeply flawed, pointing to, for example, the OPCC’s conclusion that: “The manner in which witnesses were interviewed was fair and professional, utilizing appropriate interviewing style and technique.” In fact, evidence at the Inquest showed that a private conversation between Al Wright and his surviving son Alister, in which Al broke the news of Alvin’s death, was secretly recorded by the Langley RCMP without the family’s consent. The transcript, from the early morning hours of August 7, 2010, begins with Al, and reads: “(Crying) please don’t let him be gone. Please (unintelligible). (Crying) oh my god.” Section 184 of the Criminal Code prohibits such recordings.

“The RCMP secretly and illegally recorded me and my son on the night of Alvin’s death as we cried together in the police station. The RCMP made our most private moments part of the investigation file,” said Al Wright. “The shooting officer’s statement to senior RCMP officers in the same police station that same night, probably at the same time, wasn’t recorded. He made no notes, wasn’t ordered to make any, and didn’t give a written report for more than three months. The OPCC thinks that’s fair and professional, and that pretty much sums up police accountability in BC.”

The family has asked the OPCC review also to answer whether the officers (a) entered the Wright house illegally without a warrant, (b) failed to announce their presence before entering Alvin’s darkened bedroom demonstrating criminal negligence, and, (c) failed to preserve the shooting scene and allowed the bullet cartridge and weapons to be moved, resulting in obstruction of justice or criminal breach of trust.