NEWS

Families of people killed in B.C. police incidents meet

11/25/2012 05:04 EST | Updated 01/25/2013 05:12 EST
Families of people killed in interactions with police met Sunday morning with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association for a first-of-its-kind brainstorming session.

The meeting was to focus on the prevention and investigation of police-involved deaths and injuries.

But Stefanie Ratjen with the BCCLA says the organization also hopes it will be the beginning of a support group for families.

"Unfortunately we are often contacted by people who have experienced a loved one or a family member die while in police custody or actually be killed by a police officer," she said.

"One of the biggest themes that we're hearing from these families is that they often find themselves very alone in these circumstances. So we're hoping that bringing people together today will work to support other families who have gone through these kinds of situations."

David Boyd, whose son Paul died after an altercation with Vancouver police in August 2007, hopes the session will be the start of a new support group for families.

"For example, the group could have counsellors available who could be the first one to tell families their child had been killed, rather than have a policeman there who has mixed motives in what he's doing — he's trying to gain information from you, when in fact all he should be doing is telling you of the death."

The meeting was also expected to include Zofia Cisowski, whose son Robert Dziekanski was jolted repeatedly by an RCMP stun gun at Vancouver airport in 2007.

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