Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

VPD Chief ‘undermined’ investigation of fatal police shooting: Pivot

Vancouver Police Chief Jim Chu may have compromised an investigation into the fatal shooting of a homeless man last month, according to a complaint filed by Pivot Legal Society today.

On March 20, two police officers approached Michael Vann Hubbard in downtown Vancouver, suspecting his involvement in a car break-in.

The 58-year-old man was shot down by a single bullet after he drew an X-Acto knife and advanced quickly towards them, according to Chu's account.

An investigation into the death is being handled by the Abbotsford Police Department.

On March 28, Chief Chu sent a widely distributed email to VPD staff expressing regret about the incident. The memo was reprinted in the Vancouver Sun.

“…it would not be appropriate for me to prejudge the findings of the external investigation by commenting on my view of the evidence I am familiar with,” Chu wrote. “However, I do believe it is appropriate to advise you of that evidence which is incontrovertible, as it was captured by good quality video.”

The evidence in question is surveillance footage of the shooting which supports the claim that police fired at Vann Hubbard in self defence, according to Chu. A witness on the scene captured the confrontation on his cell-phone and contends the homeless man did not act aggressively.

Officers confiscated the cell phone and deleted the amateur video, he said.

Today’s Pivot complaint accuses Chu of sharing information that could bias the statements of police called before the Abbotsford police inquiry.

“Details of key evidence in an investigation, and opinions regarding the interpretation of that evidence, should not be shared with officers under investigation who must later give a statement or testify in a proceeding related to that incident,” reads the statement. It was signed by Pivot lawyer Paul Nigol, who is representing Vann Hubbard’s family in a civil action against the VPD.

“Chief of Vancouver Police Jim Chu has undermined an ongoing investigation and public confidence in the police,” it reads.

Geoff Dembicki is a staff reporter for The Hook.

Find more in:

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus