The old man didn’t have the benefit of what, in the final report of the Frank Paul death inquiry, Justice Davies called “preferential treatment in police-related cases.”
Vancouver Police Constable Lee Chipperfield received preferential treatment. After killing Paul Boyd, he was neither charged nor disciplined. Instead, he continued working as a Vancouver City policeman. He and the police colleagues who watched Mr. Boyd die would have put the incident behind them except that tourist Andreas Bergen came forward with a video after he heard the Police Complaint Commissioner had ruled there was insufficient evidence to fault police.
As now MLA David Eby said,
“There is something about seeing a man crawling across the street to be shot in the head surrounded by police officers when he’s fully disarmed…”
James Forcillo, the Toronto police officer who killed Sammy Yatim also had that benefit. He was not arrested after the shooting nor was he arrested after Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit decided to lay a murder charge against him. Forcillo was allowed to surrender on Tuesday morning, appear in court for a bail hearing shortly after and depart about an hour later in a waiting SUV.
Twenty-three days after the fatal shooting of a youth contained within an empty streetcar, authorities charged Toronto Police Const. James Forcillo with murder.
Sammy Yatim shooting: murder charge for Toronto officer, CBC News, Aug. 19, 2013
A Toronto police officer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Sammy Yatim, the 18-year-old shot and killed in a streetcar last month.
A statement issued Monday from Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit — the province’s police watchdog — says the actions of Const. James Forcillo in the downtown Toronto incident this summer justify a charge of second-degree murder…
Almost 2,200 days after Vancouver Police Const. Lee Chipperfield administered a kill shot to the head of unarmed and defenceless Paul Boyd, as the wounded man crawled on hands and knees on Granville Street, the killer has not been charged or disciplined. British Columbia prosecutors continue to examine the homicide, more than six years after the execution.
Vancouver Police officers who stood on the street within steps of Boyd’s killer took no action and facilitated the subsequent cover-up orchestrated by Police Chief Jim Chu. Unfortunately, abuse of authority, including violence and homicide, is an accepted part of the culture of policing. Canada is only different by degree from Mexico, Egypt, North Korea, Russia and other states that instigate or excuse brutal policing.
VANCOUVER – The BC Civil Liberties Association and the family of Paul Boyd are pleased with the BC Criminal Justice Branch’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor to reconsider the laying of criminal charges in the police shooting death of Paul Boyd in August 2007. The appointment comes two years after the Criminal Justice Branch originally refused requests from the BCCLA and the Boyd Family to appoint a special prosecutor, saying that it would not be in the public interest.
“We are encouraged that the Crown is finally taking action to reconsider laying charges in the Boyd case,” said Josh Paterson, Executive Director of the BCCLA. “The evidence that Boyd was not a threat to police when he was shot and killed has been known for years. Justice requires that an independent special prosecutor take a hard look at this tragedy. This is a positive step.”
A year ago in May 2012, the BCCLA asked for this case to be reopened after a video came to light confirming that Boyd appeared to be crawling at the time he was shot by police. The BCCLA was pleased at the time that the BC government, the Vancouver Police Department, and the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner quickly responded by asking Alberta’s Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) to open an investigation. ASIRT has now reported back to BC Assistant Deputy Attorney General M. Joyce DeWitt-Van Oosten, QC, who has appointed a special prosecutor in response…”
While appointment of respected lawyer Mark Jetté is appropriate, the record of special prosecutors in British Columbia is not a good one. Because many law firms and senior lawyers have regular business relationships with government, they are not free from prejudice and favouritism. They tend to deliver results desired by the ministry that hires them.
Police accountability for wrongful deaths and major misconduct fails routinely because senior police and public officials close ranks to protect wrongdoers with whom they are associated. The response occurs because the consequences of full and frank disclosures of wrongdoing would be costly and damaging to reputations of agencies and institutions. They choose instead to let individual families suffer tragedies.
Kim Bolan, Vancouver Sun, May 31, 2012
“…And [Chief Jim] Chu confirmed that Const. Lee Chipperfield, who fired the fatal shots at a crawling and wounded Boyd, is still on the job and carrying a gun…”
The following article was first published here March 24, 2012. With the homicide of Paul Boyd back in the news, it’s again worth a read.
August 13 2007, 39-year-old Paul Boyd, a successful animator who suffered bipolar disorder, created a disturbance on Granville Street. When police arrived, he struggled with them, reportedly armed with a bicycle locking chain, and failed to follow instructions. VPD Constable Lee Chipperfield shot Boyd repeatedly, dropping him to the ground. The wounded man, now disarmed, struggled to get up. Chipperfield shot an eighth time, a fatal round to Boyd’s head. The policeman fired despite his partner calling out, “Hold your fire.”
Days later, CBC reported one witness saying the man’s death was like an execution, claiming Boyd was on his knees when the last shots were fired. Jonathan Menzies said:
“They had made a decision to kill this man and they shot him and shot him and shot him until he could not do anything at all”
Fifteen months later, prosecutors issued a decision:
“An exhaustive review, involving senior prosecutors within the Criminal Justice Branch, has resulted in the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence to establish that the officer’s use of force was excessive in the circumstances.”
CBC reports from the Paul Boyd inquest:
The Vancouver police officer who shot a mentally ill man up to eight times three years ago on Granville Street says he didn’t realize his police partner had already disarmed the man.
Shooter Lee Chipperfield at the coroner’s inquest into the August 2007 death of Paul Boyd:
“The fact that someone’s been shot three times and is still able to get up . . . it was shocking to me. The threat was still there.”
“Stan Lowe, the Police Complaint Commissioner concluded that there is no evidence that showed Chipperfield used unnecessary or excessive force during the tense incident. …the OPCC has made the decision to conclude the matter and take no further action.”
Mentally ill man killed by “inattentionally blind” police officer
The BCCLA is questioning a five year delay, and unusual expert evidence, in a new report that again clears the VPD in the shooting of Illustrator Paul Boyd. Boyd was shot eight times by police in August, 2007, with the last, and fatal, shot coming after Boyd had been disarmed.
The OPCC attributes part of the five year delay to bringing in an expert psychologist to examine the event, in particular to opine on why the officer kept shooting after Boyd was disarmed of a bicycle lock chain…
The BCCLA is also questioning the way in which the report was written by the OPCC, noting that a key detail – that Boyd was disarmed when he was shot fatally in the head – was not mentioned until the second last page, and that the entire process from beginning to end took almost five years.
“We imagine the OPCC put on page six of a seven page report that Mr. Boyd was disarmed when he was shot by an officer blind with an ‘intense emotional reaction’ because that fact is incredibly embarrassing when placed beside their conclusion that the officer did not breach any policy or use of force rule,” said Eby. “A five year wait for this? The only result of this five year long investigation is ever more tortured explanations for an officer’s actions in shooting a disarmed and badly injured man in the head.”
With hundreds of police involved fatalities over the last 15 years, B.C. has the largest number of deaths per year of any of the six provinces and territories for which numbers were available. Part of the reason for that is the near complete absence of accountability when police officers shoot citizens.
A new method is planned to examine deaths resulting from police actions. Don’t expect any change in results though. Government has a financial interest in exonerating public servants as long as government pays resulting damages awarded.
Further reading: Police involved deaths – the need for reform, BC Civil Liberties Association, 2012