A former B.C. solicitor general says amateur video released this week shows that Vancouver police failed to follow procedure in the shooting death of a mentally ill man.
On Wednesday, Liberal MLA Kash Heed screened the video taken by a tourist as police confronted Paul Boyd, who had become violent and threatening on a Vancouver street on the night of Aug. 13, 2007.
The incident ended after police fired a ninth shot, which hit Boyd in the head and killed him.
Heed, also a former Vancouver police superintendent and a former West Vancouver police chief, had supported the officers’ actions based on five previous investigations that laid no blame against them.
"After reviewing the incident I have a different opinion,” Heed said Wednesday. “I'm glad that we are now focusing on an outside agency to come in and review this incident. The minister of justice made the correct call here," Heed said.
The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team has been called in by Attorney General Shirley Bond to examine the video and interview the man who recorded it. The BC Coroners service also said Tuesday it was reviewing the results of its inquest into Boyd’s death in light of the new information.
The cellphone video was shot by Andreas Bergen, of Winnipeg, who brought it to the attention of CBC News after becoming concerned when he read reports about the outcome of the investigations into the incident.
Previous finding criticized
Boyd can be seen in the video, crawling slowly on all fours toward Const. Lee Chipperfield, who fired the fatal round.
Heed said a well-trained officer would not have fired that shot under the circumstances.
"Because if the threat is no longer the threat that was posed originally, when you applied your force, of course, you must go to a different level to control the individual.”
Forensic psychologist Michael Elterman, who also screened the video Wednesday, agreed with Heed.
Elterman also dismissed a finding quoted that Chipperfield was under such great stress he was made “inattentionally blind” to the apparently reduced level of danger actually posed by Boyd.
“It’s difficult to understand how this theory of perceptual blindness, or inattentive blindness, could have been operating in this situation,” said Elterman. “Another theory is the police officer panicked."
It’s not known when the results of the Alberta police investigation will be made public.