Thursday 22 April 2010

Open liquor is deadly

Well, at least it can be if it's illegal.
Ian Bush was killed in October 2005 during a struggle in the Houston [British Columbia] RCMP detachment after he was arrested with an open beer outside the northern B.C. town's arena during a hockey game.

The officer was never charged.
Bush's mother has just dropped her civil suit against the RCMP:
Bush said she did not want to relive the "anger and despair" a civil case would have rekindled and that the cost of continuing the legal battle given B.C.'s user-pay regime was too heavy.

"(The court costs) put it out of reach for ordinary people," she said.

Bush estimated well over $130,000 raised through donations across the country had already been spent on fighting for justice in her son's death.

"I know many people, including some who are very close to me, will be very disappointed with the decision," she said.

"I do, however need to make the decision after considering what makes the most sense . . . Nothing we can do will give Ian's life back to him, so the only thing we truly want is not within our reach."

Bush said she felt much more "comfortable" with the Mounties now than she did 4 1/2 years ago and couldn't say whether that was from "forgiveness or maybe a form of acceptance."
Ian Bush was shot in the back of the head by the RCMP.

Just another isolated incident I'm sure. All is under control. There's no chance that the new mechanism where RCMP malfeasance is investigated by BC municipal police departments will just turn into mutual whitewashing. No chance at all.

Angry day continues....


  1. One assumes Mr Bush must have been violently resisting arrest to warrant being shot in the head, but it still seems a tad excessive. Unless the officer concerned truly felt lives were in danger you would think that a sub-lethal method of subduing him would have sufficed. It would appear from other incidents that RCMP have access to tasers, etc. I'm glad, given the current paranoia about drunken youths here, that our police don't routinely carry firearms on their hips.

  2. @Lats: I'm no forensics guy, but I'd have expected struggle leading to shot suspect to have the decedent shot in the leg, arm, chest, stomach, or face. Hey, something weird could have happened though.

    Every time the police move to arrest or detain a citizen, there's a small probability that the citizen resists; every time that happens, there's a small probability that the citizen or the officer is injured. The more laws we have that bring officers into conflict with citizens for things that serve little or no protective purpose, the greater the chances of such needless deaths.

  3. @Lats: in 2005 the horsie cops didn't all have Tasers. This "struggle" also allegedly occurred in the RCMP lockup, not out in public, which gives one to wonder why the situation wasn't more under control.

    I actually gamed this out with a Canadian Forces buddy of mine. It's awfully unlikely, but plausible: suppose Ian Bush grabs Ofc. Friendly from behind in a choke hold. Ofc. Friendly draws his handgun and holds it (behind his head) against Mr. Bush, who (not unreasonably) flinches and turns away from the gun before getting shot. "Shot in the back of the head in self defence", justified by deadly force from the assailant.

    Of course, if it did go down like that, I'd expect the RCMP to provide a lot more detail about precisely how it happened: "grabbed the officer from behind" and so forth. The fact that there's little but a thin blue -- er, red serge -- wall of silence makes me awfully skeptical.

    I guess it could be legit -- an RCMP officer who grossly underestimated Mr. Bush's belligerence and neglected to take precautions. But especially given the RCMP's pattern of arrogance and violent behaviour in BC, I'm skeptical.

  4. @blunt Thanks for the info. Sounds like you have every reason to be skeptical. Cops the world over tend to look after their own, so no surprises that this incident was largely brushed under the carpet. A sad affair.