The BC Coroners Service has announced it will review its investigation and inquest into the 2007 death of a mentally ill Vancouver man after new video evidence came to light in a CBC News report Monday.
Paul Boyd, 39, was shot to death by Vancouver police on August 13, 2007, during a confrontation on a busy city street.
Andreas Bergen, of Winnipeg, who was visiting Vancouver when he happened upon the incident as it unfolded, gave the video to CBC News. Bergen said he had lost track of the case and became concerned when he recently learned of the outcome of the investigations into the shooting.
The officer who fired the fatal shot, Const. Paul Chipperfield, was cleared after investigations by both police and by the B.C. Police Complaints Commission.
Earlier Tuesday, it was announced that police investigators from Alberta will conduct an independent review of the new evidence.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has been requested to examine both the video and witness information as an independent body by the B.C. Ministry of Justice and the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner, according to a statement released by the Vancouver Police Department on Tuesday morning.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General Shirley Bond said the review was ordered to ensure that British Columbians have confidence in their police.
"This is a very sensitive case, which is why we have asked the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, an experienced, independent investigative agency, to consider the case in light of new information. I know that the Vancouver Police Department agrees that this matter be investigated externally and will fully co-operate with the ASIRT investigation."
Video shows man crawling
The video shows the last moments of Boyd, a 39-year-old animator, who suffered from bipolar disorder.
Boyd can be seen on his hands and knees on Granville Street, moving toward Const. Chipperfield, who is pointing a gun. The view is briefly obscured when Boyd crawls in front of a car, and Chipperfield fires the last of nine shots at him. The fatal bullet struck Boyd in the head.
The disturbing video is the only one known to be recorded of the incident. Bergen said he didn't think his shaky, dimly lit video was valuable because there were dozens of witnesses closer to the scene than he was.
But in March of this year, B.C.'s police complaint commissioner issued a report, concluding there wasn't "clear, convincing and cogent evidence … that Chipperfield used unnecessary force or excessive force during his incident."
Bergen said he read an account of the decision and became concerned and contacted CBC News to release the video. The video didn't capture the entire event in which Boyd — who was suffering from bipolar disorder and paranoia — fought with police, striking two officers with a bicycle chain and lock.
The video also doesn't show Boyd absorbing punches from police, blows from their batons and even several bullets fired to his midsection, yet not giving up.