Family still awaits decision on West Kootenay police shooting

Peter de Groot was killed by the RCMP in 2014 near Slocan

Did the RCMP act improperly when they shot and killed Peter de Groot in a cabin near Slocan?

That question still hasn’t been answered by the Internal Investigations Office (IIO) after almost three years of investigation.

The IIO are called to investigate whenever a person is killed by police, but the De Groot family’s lawyer told the Star this week that the time being taken in this case is exceptional.

“It is extraordinarily long,” said lawyer Don Sorochan. “It’s the longest outstanding IIO investigation I have seen.”

On October 9, 2014, West Slocan resident De Groot, 45, was involved in an argument with someone, apparently over an eviction notice. RCMP went to the scene, where De Groot allegedly fired a shot at them before fleeing into the bush. The resulting manhunt and its tragic outcome grabbed national headlines and generated enormous controversy.

When the Star asked the IIO’s Aidan Buckley last week about the delay, he repeated exactly what he said in a similar interview in October 2016: it’s a complex investigation and therefore it takes time.

He said that the investigation is complete but must now undergo an internal review in which the director will decide whether one or more officers committed an offence, which he also said last October.

Buckley said a decision could be “weeks to months” away.

Last year the De Groot family filed a lawsuit against the RCMP, alleging that police actions were “militaristic and aggressive” and that “there were no efforts at de-escalation” even though the police knew Peter de Groot suffered from a cognitive disability.

Sorochan says the court action is being held in abeyance until the IIO makes a decision. His next steps will be determined by the conclusions of the investigation report.

IIO investigations always end in the exoneration of the police officer or in a referral to the crown for criminal charges.

Related stories:

Search for armed man continues in Slocan (October, 2014)

2014’s to stories #3: The death of Peter de Groot (December, 2014)

LETTER: De Groot family speaks on anniversary of death (October, 2015)

Sister of man killed in Slocan sues RCMP (October, 2016)

Just Posted

Snowfall warning for Kootenay and Paulson passes

Up to 30 cm expected in mountain passes Saturday and Sunday.

Nelson Leafs hang on to edge Chase Heat 4-3

Nelson has won 14 of its last 15 games

Community Futures launches cannabis consultation program

The Cannabis Business Transition Initiative helps businesses move into the legal economy

Nelson receives over $400,000 in gaming grants

The annual funds are handed out to non-profit sports and arts organizations

Kootenay Patricks assemble to take on Montreal Canadiens alumni

The charity game takes place Jan. 23 in Nelson

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Dallas Smith, Terri Clark to perform on CP Holiday Train’s B.C. stops

Annual festive food bank fundraiser rolling across province from Dec. 11 to 17

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Most Read