The man who will lead the latest investigation into a fatal police shooting on a Vancouver street five years ago says he won’t shy away from charges, if that’s where the evidence leads.
The August, 2007, death of Paul Boyd is under the spotlight again after video surfaced this week that appears to show him on his hands and knees before the fatal shot is fired.
The B.C. Coroners Service and Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner both said Tuesday they would reopen their investigations into Mr. Boyd’s death.
The grainy nighttime video, shot by a tourist, is about one minute in length. Three seconds in, a gunshot can be heard. Twenty-three seconds later, after Mr. Boyd has crawled toward the officers but is no longer in the frame, a second shot is heard.
Shirley Bond, B.C.’s Attorney-General, said the new video will be investigated by an independent outside agency, the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team. The unit investigates serious injuries and deaths that may have resulted from police action.
Clifton Purvis, a lawyer and the team’s civilian director, said in an interview his goal is to simply uncover the truth. If that means recommending charges against the officer who fired the fatal shot, he’s prepared to do so.
“I wouldn’t shy away from that in the province of Alberta, and your readers can rest assured I won’t shy away from that in the province of British Columbia,” he said.
The incident began the evening of Aug. 13, when police received several 911 calls regarding a male causing a disturbance inside a restaurant.
When police arrived and approached Mr. Boyd, he struck one officer in the head with a bicycle chain. A second officer tried to arrest him, but Mr. Boyd hit that officer in the back with the chain and fled.
A report released by the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner in March said Mr. Boyd ran into the middle of a street, where he continued to swing the chain as more officers arrived.
“Mr. Boyd approached the officers on the roadway in an aggressive manner. During the course of events, Constable [Lee]Chipperfield fired nine shots at Mr. Boyd over a span of 80 seconds, striking Mr. Boyd with eight of these shots,” the report said.
The incident ended with a fatal shot to Mr. Boyd’s head. The 39-year-old illustrator was pronounced dead at the scene.
Constable Chipperfield has said he believed Mr. Boyd was a threat and potentially wearing body armour, so he aimed for his head.
B.C.'s Criminal Justice Branch twice decided against charging Constable Chipperfield, advising there was insufficient evidence he used excessive force. The officer remains on active duty with Vancouver police.