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Lawyer calls for Langley RCMP's officer in charge to testify in Wright inquest

Supt. Derek Cooke - Langley Times file photo
Supt. Derek Cooke
— image credit: Langley Times file photo

The counsel for widow Heather Hannon wants to subpoena Langley RCMP Supt. Derek Cooke to go over his actions and decisions and his detachment’s treatment of the family following the shooting death of Alvin Wright on Aug. 7, 2010.

Lawyer Don Sorochon said things need to change within B.C.’s detachments when police are involved in a fatal shooting of a civilian.

He questions why the officer who shot Wright, Sgt. Don Davidson, wasn’t interviewed properly about the shooting until after Cooke reinstated him for active duty.

“In the U.S. and in Ontario right now, officers are required to give statements immediately,” said Sorochon.

“The public was told it will be an independent review and yet Cooke did the investigation and concluded Davidson was clear to go back to duty,” he said.

“We need more than blind backing of officers and appropriate treatment of family.”

He also wants to find out why Hannon, as a victim, was arrested and held in custody.

The counsel for the RCMP argued that bringing Cooke to the stand is pointless and not relevant to the inquest which is to deal with the death of Wright.

“There is no point to discuss this because police investigating police will no longer exist by 2013 or earlier,” said lawyer David Kwan.

B.C. is finally expected to follow most other provinces and have an independent civilian commission to investigate police-involved deaths.

In a break from the inquest, Alvin’s father Alan said the Monty Robinson case should be a good example of what his family is up against with the police not dealing well with crisis.

“The way it is doesn’t work for any of us. It seems to work for police but not for the families,” he said.

Sorochon said Cooke’s testimony could shed some light on how leaders respond to crisis in their detachment.

“I think there is some explaining to do by Cooke,” he said.

Presiding coroner Vincent Stancato reserved judgment on whether to have Cooke testify.

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