Family and supporters of Tony Du, who died at the hands of the Vancouver Police after a schizophrenic episode, rallied at VPD headquarters today.
The protest came on the heels of a Thursday decision by crown counsel not to approve charges against the pair of officers that shot and killed Du in an altercation in a South Vancouver intersection.
Du’s sister, Lien Chan, told the several dozen protesters her son was guilty of nothing other than holding a two by four.
“It should happen to nobody,” she said through tears to the assembled crowd.
Du was shot and killed after police failed to subdue him using bean bag rounds, while he wielded the piece of wood on the corner of 41st and Knight in 2014.
His family admits he suffered from mental illness, but insist he was harmless.
B.C.’s civilian police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office, investigated and forwarded a report to crown opening the door for charges.
However, Crown counsel says there was not enough evidence to pursue the case.
Family friend and rally organizer Chanel Ly says when she heard the decision by Crown, she felt disheartened, but not surprised.
“I think it’s the state’s responsiblity to hold cops accountable for excessive use of force that results in a death that should not have happened.”
“I’m personally organizing this in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the police brutality that’s taking place.”
READ MORE: Mental Illness focus on Tony Du’s vigil
Du’s mother was joined by Margie Gray, the mother of Myles Gray who also died at the hands of Vancouver Police.
“We know the trauma, we know the grief, the surmounting torment that has caused our family and families,” Gray told the crowd.
“And it’s terrible to have to meet this family in this circumstance.”
Gray died after a 2015 confrontation with police near Boundary Road. Police say they were responding to reports of a distraught man, while Gray’s family say he was merely on break from his delivery job.
Pivot Legal Society Lawyer Douglas King says the family has now filed a civil suit for wrongful death in Tony’s case.
He adds, it’s unacceptable that the case took 2 years to be investigated.
“And then to find at the end of the investigation that they actually utilized former police officers from Vancouver to offer opinion on the case, it leaves us with a lot of doubts about how the office is operating.”
King says this is one of the first cases that tested the system with the Independent Investigations Office and Crown, and with somebody who arguably had a weapon.
With files from Michelle Morton