DeGroot shooting now oldest open IIO investigation
An officer-involved fatal shooting dating back to Oct. 13, 2014, has now become the oldest open investigation being handled by the Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO).
(For coverage of the shooting, click here).
The sixth-oldest open IIO investigation is also local, after a fatal shooting on Kinnaird Bridge in Castlegar on Jan. 29, 2015 (click here).
The IIO has come under fire for the length of time required to conclude these investigations, including within this publication (click here), and responded in an interview in January of this year (click here).
In an interview conducted May 19, 2016, IIO spokemen Aidan Buckley and Marten Youssef indicated that the IIO is aware of the timeliness issue and working hard to correct same.
“We’re doing everything we can to expedite that time limit – we’re not proud of that, certainly,” Youssef said, explaining they’ve recruited more investigators and have made internal changes to speed investigations. “There are certain things that are outside our control.”
They also explained some confusion about graphs on their own website, indicating the amount of progress made on all open cases within their purview.
The graph indicates percentage of tasks completed (in this case, as of May 18, to see the graph click here), and indicated that the Slocan/de Groot investigation had 164 out of 178 tasks completed, while the Castlegar/Edey investigation had 56 out of 58 tasks completed.
The problem is, Youssef said, these numbers can be unintentionally misleading.
“It doesn’t give an exact measure,” he said. “In some cases, it’s not an accurate indication of where a case is at.”
The issue is defining the word ‘task’ – a task could be anything from a simple, 10-minute witness interview all the way to a complicated and time-consuming scientific laboratory test that could take months.
“And that task number is very fluid,” Buckley added. “(For example), a new witness could come forward …”
They’re also very limited in what information they can release before the investigation is concluded and a formal report submitted, for several reasons – the primary one being the risk of skewing public opinion unfairly or inaccurately.
The Source will continue to monitor the progress of both investigations.