The inquest into the death of Valeri George finished today as the jury presented their verdict.
The jury determined George’s death to be a homicide, caused by gunshot wounds of the chest.
The jury also presented their recommendations resulting from the inquest.
First, they recommended investigating having an armoured vehicle with the North District RCMP. Several RCMP officers commented that having an armoured vehicle would have assisted them in this situation, as they could have gotten closer to Mr. George’s house to communicate with him. Currently, the nearest armoured vehicle is in Southern B.C.
Some of their recommendations addressed the language difficulties experienced in dealing with Mr. George. They suggest that every local RCMP Detachment determine the predominant second languages in their area and have an officer fluent in that language, as well as creating a database of officers who speak languages other than English.
In addition, they suggested to the British Columbia Ministry of Health that pamphlets regarding health services be made available at rural post offices and community centres, in the languages of the area. Many witnesses testified that months before his death, George appeared to be depressed and possibly suffering from mental illness.
Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, Senior Media Relations Officer for the RCMP, says analysts will now look at the findings and recommendations of the jury and see their feasibility and how applicable they are.
"Certainly we are committed to always reviewing our current policies and practices to always ensure the utmost and best delivery of our police services in our communities."
On the other hand, Valeri George’s family says the verdict does not provide them closure.
Son-in-law Jacob Rempel Jr. says the family was promised financial support by local RCMP but they have not received anything. George left a widow and 11 children, who are now living off childcare benefits.
Rempel also said the inquest was frustrating for the family, as they felt some of the evidence given was incorrect.
They also suggest that not enough was done to try and communicate with George. RCMP tried unsuccessfully to have a German speaking officer speak with Mr. George at the scene, but the family feels strongly he would have responded better to a family member or friend.
"I think, personally, it would really help to get a close family friend or family member in there to try and talk to him."
The RCMP ruled that option out, because of the risk George posed possessing a firearm.
Rempel says Valeri George will be remembered as a good man, who loved his family above all else.
"I love my dad so much. Even the family, they miss him. This guy will never come back and the family wishes he’d be back."